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Tuesday, November 02, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday November 4 to Thursday November 11

The New Moon is Saturday November 6. Mars climbs the Scorpion. Jupiter is easily seen in the evening sky. Venus enters the Morning sky. Comet 103P Hartley climbs higher in the sky. The variable star Mira is brighter.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:47 am daylight saving time on Friday November 5 showing The crescent Moon between Saturn and Venus. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The New Moon is Saturday November 6.

Bright white Venus returns to the morning sky. On Friday the 5th, Venus will be close to the crescent Moon. However, Venus will be close to the horizon, so you will need a fairly level, uncluttered horizon to see it. By the end of the week, venus will be easier too see.

Saturn has returned to the morning sky too, it's actually been there a while, but because it is fairly faint compared to Venus, it has been hard to pick up until now. It still will be hard, but you should be able to see it a bit over half an hour before sunrise by the end of the week.

Evening sky looking west showing the Mars and Mercury at 8:15 pm local daylight saving time on Monday November 8. Click to embiggen.

Mercury is climbing higher in the evening sky but it never gets very high above the horizon. You will need a clear level horizon to see it. On the 7th the crescent Moon is just above Mercury.

Mars is becoming harder to see in the twilight. It and is the second brightest object above the western horizon, after the red star Antares (which means Rival of Mars). During the week Mars draws closer to Antares.

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 was at opposition well over a month ago, when it was at its biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. However, Jupiter will still be excellent in binoculars and small telescopes for many weeks to come.

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 very bright. Now that the Moon is heading for New, you can follow it's changes in brightness.

Comet 103P Hartley above the northern horizon at 4:30 am ACDST (3:30 non-daylight saving time) as seen from Adelaide on November 6, similar views will be seen from other places at equivalent local time.

Comet 103P Hartley 2 rises higher in the southern skies this week. It is high in the sky, not far from the bright star Procyon, but the comet is fading, and will be at the very threshold of unaided eye visibility from dark sky sites. And you do have to get up at dark o'clock to see it.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the week, the waning Moon's light will wash out the comet.

With the Moon fading towards New the comet will be easily seen in binoculars, and it races through the sky through some pretty territory.

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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