Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The Sky This Week - Thursday February 16 to Thursday February 23
Evening sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 11:30 am local daylight saving time on Sunday February 12 showing Mars and Saturn, with the Moon very close to Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. The inset shows the telescopic appearance of Saturn and it's Moons at this time. Click to embiggen.
The New Moon is Wednesday February 22.
Mars is in the constellation of Leo.
Mars is in the eastern sky late in the evening, rising around 9:15 pm (local daylight saving time), although it is still highest in the early morning. Mars continues to brightens rapidly.
Saturn is above the north- eastern horizon, not far from the bright star Spica. Saturn is high enough in sky in the early morning for telescopic observation, but is rising about 11:00 pm local daylight saving time.
Mercury is now lost in twilight.
Evening sky on Saturday February 18 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 8:30 pm local daylight saving time in South Australia showing Venus in Pisces, with Jupiter not far away. The insets shows the appearance of Venus and Jupiter and its Moons as seen telescopically at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen)
Bright white Venus is readily visible in the evening western twilight sky from around half an hour after sunset for somewhat over an hour and a half.
Venus is in Aquarius this week. It comes close to Epsilon Piscium on the 23rd. Venus may drown the star out with its brightness.
Jupiter was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on Saturday the 29th of October.
However, Jupiter is still a great binocular object. Jupiter is visible for most of the night in the north-western sky, setting half an hour after midnight.
In the evening Jupiter is readily visible in the northern-western sky, from about twilight. It is coming closer to Venus, and the pair look very nice in the western evening sky.
Now is a still good time for telescopic observation of this massive world (although the window for observation is narrowing), or follow its moons in binoculars. For good telescopic observation Jupiter is best from 9 pm - 10 pm.
Although Jupiter is the most prominent now, 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.
Globe at Night, the international light pollution survey, is running its second survey this year from February 12-21. Visit their website for easy to follow instructions and charts to estimate how dark your sky is.
Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch (this will be up dated to February a little later).
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
Labels: weekly sky