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Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The Sky This Week - Thursday September 27 to Thursday October 4

The Full  Moon is Sunday September 31. Mars, Saturn and the star Spica form a very long triangle in the western evening sky and are joined by Mercury.  In the morning skies Jupiter and Venus can be readily seen amongst some beautiful constellations. Venus comes close to the bright star Regulus.

Morning sky on Thursday October 4 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 am local time in South Australia. Jupiter below the Hyades makes a long triangle with the red stars Betelgeuse and Aldebaran. The right inset shows the location of the Moons of Jupiter at this time. Venus is very close to the bright star RegulusSimilar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The Full Moon is Sunday September 31.

Jupiter is easily seen in the early morning sky. Jupiter is below the Hyades  and stays in roughly the same position for most of the week.

With the Pleiades cluster and the constellation of Orion close by, this is a beautiful morning sight. 

Jupiter's Moons are a delight any-time, but on the morning of the4th there is a  transit of Io. Well worth a look in even a small telescope.

Bright white Venus is still moderately  high above the eastern horizon, but continues sinking lower over the week. Venus looks like a waxing Moon when seen through even a small telescope.

Jupiter, Aldebaran and the red star Betelgeuse in Orion form a long triangle in the sky.

Venus is in  the constellation of  Leo, and moves towards the bright star Regulus.It is closest to Regulus on the 4th.

Mercury is returns to the evening sky, but is very low in the twilight, on the 30th  it is close to the bright star Spica.

Mars is in the constellation of  Libra. Mars is brightest object in the north-western sky, and its distinctive red colour makes it easy to spot. Mars sets shortly after 10:15 pm local time.

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.

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 7:00 pm local time on Sunday September 30. Mars,  Saturn and the bright star Spica form a long triangle, with the Mercury close to Spica. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.  Click to embiggen.

Saturn is just above the north-western horizon, not far from the bright star Spica. Saturn is low in the twilight, which is not good for telescopic observation.

 Saturn was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on the 16th of April. Now you only have a very short viewing time before Saturn is too low to observe, and telescopic views are even more limited. Saturn sets around 8:00 pm local time

Mercury, Saturn and the bright white star Spica from an attractive triangle in the evening sky by the end of the week, although you will need a low level horizon to see them at their best.

Over the week,  Mars moves closer towards the head of Scorpius the Scorpion.

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 AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.


Hello Ian,
What is this? is strange?
It's just the SOHO CCD cam having one of it's occasional hissy fits, where the image goes haywire. It' just an artifact.
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