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Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The Sky This Week - Thursday June 21 to Thursday June 28

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday June 27. Mars is in the western evening sky and is visited by the waxing Moon on the 26th. Saturn is visible near the star Spica in the northern sky. In the morning skies Jupiter and Venus can be seen. Mercury is close to the thin crescent Moon on the 21st. Earth is at Solstice on the 21st.

Morning sky on Sunday June 24  looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:30 am local time in South Australia. 
Jupiter is near the the Pleiades cluster. Venus is in the Hyades, making a second eye for Taurus the Bull. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky this week. It will become progressively easier to see. Jupiter is close to the Pleiades cluster. Over the week it draws away from them, and come closer to Venus and the Hyades.

Bright white Venus climbs higher above the horizon this week. Venus is a thin crescent seen through even a small telescope. Venus enters the "A" shaped Hyades cluster, and makes a second eye fro Taurus the Bull, along with the bright red star Aldebaran

Evening sky looking East as seen from Adelaide at 5:45 pm local time on Thursday June 21 showing Mercury and the thin crescent Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.  Click to embiggen.
The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday June 27.
Earth is at Solstice on the 21st. in the southern hemisphere, this is when the day is shortest and the night is longest.

Mercury rises higher in the evening sky. It is still best seen with a flat, uncluttered horizon. On the 21st Mercury is visited by the thin crescent Moon.

Mars enters the constellation of Virgo this week. It is the brightest object in the north-western sky, and its distinctive red colour makes it easy to spot. Mars is at its highest in the northern sky around 5:45 pm local time and sets shortly after 11:30 pm . The waxing Moon is close to Mars on Wednesday the 26th.

Mars comes closer to the bright star beta Virginis, and by the end of the week is less than half a finger width from it.

Mars was at opposition on March 4, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. Sadly, this is a poor opposition and Mars will be fairly small in modest telescopes.

Saturn is above the northern horizon, not far from the bright star Spica. Saturn is high enough in the northern sky for telescopic observation in the evening, being highest at 7:45 pm local time.Saturn was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 16th of April, but now is still a great time for telescopic views of this ringed world.

With Mars past opposition and Saturn still high in the sky, 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.

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.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.


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