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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday December 23 to Thursday December 30

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday December 28. Jupiter is easily seen in the evening sky. Venus is visible not far from Saturn and the bright star Spica in the morning sky. Mercury enters the morning sky. The waning Moon visits Saturn on Wednesday December 29.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 am daylight saving time on Saturday December 29 showing Saturn, the waning Moon, Venus and the bright star Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday December 28.

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 stars Spica and Arcturus form a large triangle in the morning sky. Venus's crescent shape is easily seen in small telescopes. Venus will progressively decrease in size and wax towards "First quarter" over the coming weeks.

Saturn, is high enough for telescopic observation. You might be able too see the big storm on Saturn if your telescope is big enough. On December 29 the Moon is near Saturn.

Mercury enters the morning sky, but you will need an unobstructed , level eastern horzion to see it.

Evening sky looking west showing Jupiter and Uranus at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time on Saturday December 25. Click to embiggen.

Marsis lost to sight in the twilight glow.

Jupiter can be readily seen from twilight until it sets in the early morning. Jupiter now spends most of the evening above the north-western horizon.

Jupiter is excellent in binoculars and small telescopes.

Jupiter and Uranus come even closer together, and are readily seen together in binoculars. Uranus is the second brightest object within a binocular field north of Jupiter (now that 20 Piscium has entered the binocular field), 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).

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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