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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday November 25 to Thursday December 2

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday November 29. Mercury climbs the Scorpion and leaves Mars. Jupiter is easily seen in the evening sky. Venus visible together with Saturn and the crescent Moon in the morning sky. Comet 103P Hartley in amongst open clusters. The variable star Mira dims.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 am daylight saving time on Thursday December 2 showing Saturn, the crescent Moon and Venus. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday November 29.

Bright white Venus continues to rise above the eastern morning horizon and is now readily seen in the early morning sky. Venus, Saturn and the bright star Spica form a line in the morning sky and on Thursday the 2nd the crescent Moon visits Saturn.

Saturn, Spica and Venus make an attractive morning sight.

Evening sky looking west showing the Mars and Mercury at 9:00 pm local daylight saving time on Sunday November 28. Click to embiggen.

Mercury is climbing higher in the evening sky and now is reasonably easy to see in the late twilight. Mercury continues to climbs the Scorpion, leaving Mars behind to sink in the twilight.

Mars is now very difficult to see, low in the twilight below Mercury.

Jupiter rises before sunset, and can be readily seen from about 7:00 pm local time. Jupiter now spends most of the evening above the northern horizon.

Jupiter is excellent in binoculars and small telescopes.

Jupiter and Uranus are still close together and can be seen near each other in a pair of binoculars, although they are just in binocular range. Uranus is the brightest object within a binocular field north of Jupiter, and is in fact bright enough to be (just) seen with the unaided eye under dark sky conditions. A binocular spotters map is here.

Jupiter's Moons are always interesting, in binoculars or telescopes of any size. There are lots of opportunities to see cool Jupiter Moon events (scroll down until you hit Jupiter).

The variable star Mira is still bright. With the Moon rising later, you can watch Mira fade over the coming weeks.

Comet 103P Hartley above the northern horizon at midnight ACDST (11 pm non-daylight saving time) as seen from Adelaide on November 28, similar views will be seen from other places at equivalent local time.

Comet 103P Hartley 2 continues to rise higher in the southern skies. It is very high in the sky heading towards Canis major and Sirius, although the comet is fading, it is still visible in binoculars.

The comet is rising earlier, and with the Moon setting later this means you do not have to get up quite so early in the morning to see it (after midnight is better though when it is higher in the sky). Between the 28th and the 2nd the comet will be in the heart of a number of beautiful open clusters, including the delightful M47 and M46. This is best viewed with binoculars or a small telescope. Although the comet is reasonably bright, its diffuse nature means it will be a bit of a challenge to see in binoculars

Click the link for printable maps comet 103P/Hartley.

If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm ADST, Western sky at 10 pm ADST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.



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