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Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The Sky This Week - Thursday October 13 to Thursday October 20

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday October 20. Venus is easily visible in the western evening twilight with Mercury catching it up below. Jupiter appears in the evening sky and is close to the Moon on October 14. Mars is visible in the morning sky nearing the constellation of Leo. Comet C/2009 P1 Garrad is visible in binoculars in the north-western sky.

Morning sky looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 am local daylight saving time on Sunday October 16 showing Mars and the brighter stars. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday October 20.

In the morning Jupiter is above the north-western horizon. Now is a good time to begin telescopic observation of this massive world, or follow its moons in binoculars.

Jupiter is readily visible in the north-eastern evening sky, from about 9 pm local time on. Jupiter's Moons can be readily seen in binoculars, however, for good telescopic observation Jupiter is best from 11 pm - 1 am. On Thursday October 14 the Moon is below Jupiter.

Mars is low in the north-eastern morning sky, heading into the constellation of Leo. Mars starts the week nearly equidistant from the bright stars Pollux and Regulus, and nears Regulus over the week

Comet 45P Honda is in the morning sky, but will be very hard to see in the twilight sky without a decent telescope.

Saturn is lost in the twilight glow.

Evening sky on Saturday October 16 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 7:45 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Venus and Mercury. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen)

Bright white Venus is now is now readily visible low in the evening western twilight sky from around half an hour after sunset.

Mercury is just visible below Venus at the beginning of the week, and becomes more prominent, and closer to Venus, as the week wears on.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope.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 location of Comet C/2009 Garrad as seen at 9:00 pm local daylight saving time Saturday October 16 looking north-west from Adelaide, similar views will be seen at equivalent local times elsewhere. Click to embiggen,

Comet C/2009 Garrad is visible in binoculars in the north-western sky, in the constellation of Ophiuchus.

Although it has brightened substantially, it is still only a fuzzy dot at magnitude 6.5. The best views will be under dark skies, where you might spy a short faint tail. The best viewing is around 9:00 pm, when the sky is dark enough to reveal the comet, even thought it is coming closer to the horizon.

At the beginning of the week Moonlight will make viewing the comet difficult, but during the week the comet is easier to observe as the Moon wanes and rises later.

A chart showing C/2009 P1's location is here.

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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