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Tuesday, August 13, 2013


The Sky This Week - Thursday August 15 to Thursday August 22

The Full Moon is Wednesday August 21. Mars and Jupiter are more prominent in the early morning. Venus is easily visible in the evening twilight and climbs towards the bright star Spica. Saturn is in the western evening sky not far above Venus. Bright (easily binocular visible) Nova in Delphinus.

The Full Moon is Wednesday August 21. The  Moon is at Perigee (closest to Earth) on the 19th.

Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:00 pm local time on Thursday August 22. Venus is quite high in the evening sky heading for Spica. Venus, Spica, Saturn and Arcturus form a delightful pattern in the evening sky. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local times.  Click to embiggen.

Venus  climbs higher in the evening twilight. It can easily be seen 20 minutes after sunset. The brightest (spectacularly so) object above the western horizon it is visible up to two hours or more after sunset (depending on how flat your western horizon is).

Venus leaves Beta Viriginis behind as it climbs higher in the sky and approaches the bright star Spica. By the end of the week Venus, Spica, Saturn and the star Arcturus form a broad triangle in the evening sky

Saturn is easily visible above the western horizon in the early evening in the constellation of Virgo. This is still an excellent time to view this planet in a small telescope, as there will be the little interference from horizon murk and air turbulence until somewhat later in the evening (and you can show the kids before they go to bed). Saturn sets around 11 pm local time.

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 a while. The sight of this ringed world is always amazing.

Morning sky on Sunday August 18 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am local time in South Australia. Mars, Jupiter, and Procyon form a triangle in the morning sky. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mars, Jupiter and the bright star Procyon start the week forming a triangle in the morning twilight.  Jupiter and Mars are passing through the constellation Gemini, towards the end of the week Mars is also close to the bright star Pollux.

Mars rises only a little higher in the morning twilight, but is now reasonably visible before the sky pales substantially.

Jupiter is now well above the north-eastern horizon, above and to the left of Mars. It is quite easy to see in the morning sky well into the twilight. During the week Jupiter rises higher and continues to move away from Mars.
Mercury  is lost to view.

Location of Nova Delphinus 2013 as seen looking north from Adelaide at 10:00 pm local time.The location is marked with a square. Similar views will be seen at the equivalent local time in other Southern Hemisphere locations. Click to embiggen.

Nova Delphins is magnitude 6, bright enough to be seen faintly with the unaided eye from dark sky locations, best seen with binoculars. A printable binocular map and telescopic coordinates are here

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

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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