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Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The Sky This Week - Thursday May 30 to Thursday June 6

The Last Quarter Moon is Saturday June 1. Venus, Jupiter and Mercury form a line in the evening twilight. Saturn is high in the evening skies.

Sky on Saturday June 1 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 local time in South Australia. The left inset shows a telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

The Last Quarter Moon is Saturday June 1.

Saturn is easily visible above the eastern horizon in the early evening in the constellation of Libra. By 10 pm local time it is high above the northern horizon and very easy to see.This is an excellent ime to view this planet in a small telescope, as there will be the least interference from horizon murk and air turbulence.

Saturn, Arcturus and Spica from a broad triangle above the northern horizon.

Opposition (when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth) was on April 28. However, Saturn will be a worthwhile evening target for telescopes of any size for several months. The sight of this ringed world is always amazing.

Mars is lost in the twilight, but will emerge in the morning next week.

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 17:45 pm local time on Friday May 31. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local times indicated here.  Click to embiggen.

Jupiter, Venus and Mercury form a line in the evening sky this week.

Mercury  leads the pack of bright planets and becomes more visible as it climbs in the evening sky.

Venus also climbs higher in the evening twilight. It is still close to the horizon, and you need a clear, level horizon like the ocean to see it at its best. However, it is quite visible soon after sunset, and becomes easier to see as the week progresses.

Jupiter is visible low in the early evening and rapidly descends into the twilight, leaving behind Venus and Mercury. Jupiter is setting progressively earlier, by 6:10 pm local time, and becomes harder to see as the week progresses.

On 31 May the planets from a straight line, and remain in a line for the rest of the week.

You don't need a telescope to see this fine display, just your eyes. For more charts and observing hints (and an animation) see my Planet Dance page.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Saturn so prominent in the sky.  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. Especially during the school holidays.

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.


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