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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The Sky This Week - Thursday February 24 to Thursday March 3

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday February 25. Jupiter is seen very low in the evening twilight sky. Venus is visible in the morning sky in the constellation of Sagittarius. The Moon visits Venus on March 1. Saturn is well placed for telescopic observation. Globe-at-Night light pollution Survey.

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 am daylight saving time on Tuesday March 1 showing Venus near the crescent Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday February 25.

Bright white Venus is readily seen in the early morning sky below the handle of the "Teapot" of Sagittarius.

Venus is "gibbous" phase, and will progressively become more full (and smaller) over the coming weeks.

On the 1st Venus is very close to the thin crescent Moon.

Mercury is lost to the twilight.

Evening sky on February 26 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 11:00 pm daylight saving time in South Australia showing Saturn near Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.

Inset, the telescopic view of Saturn on the 3rd (and on the morning of the 4th), you will need a fairly large telescope to see any moon other than Titan. Click to embiggen

Saturn is rising well before midnight, and is high enough for telescopic observation in the late evening, although it is best seen in the early morning. It readily visible not far from the bright star Spica.

The big storm on Saturn is now so large that it is visible in even small telescopes.

Even in small telescopes you can see Saturn's rings and it's moon Titan. Titan is close to Saturn on the 3rd.

The asteroid Vesta is quite faint (magnitude 7.8), so you need binoculars to see it and may need to watch over a number of nights to make sure you are seeing it. However, on the 24th it is almost on top of the cluster Cr 394 (see printable PDF map here). You will need to get up a bit before 5:00 am local daylight saving time when the sky is still very dark. You will also need good, steady binoculars or a small telescope, and to make sure your eyes are dark adapted, in order to see Vesta, but it will be worthwhile.

Evening sky looking west showing Jupiter at 8:30 pm local daylight saving time on Saturday February 26. Click to embiggen.

Mars is too close to the Sun to be seen.

Jupiter is becoming difficult to see, setting in the late twilight. Jupiter is above the north-western horizon, setting around 10:00 pm daylight saving time.

Jupiter is too close to the horizon for good telescopic views (apparently the southern equatorial belt is back).

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.

The Globe at Night global light pollution survey is open to all people, whever they live. This year the survey is from 21 February to 6 March (starting tonight).

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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