Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The Sky This Week - Thursday October 31 to Thursday November 7
The New Moon is Sunday November 3. Moon is at perigee on the 6th.
Venus climbs higher in the evening twilight. It can easily be seen shortly after sunset (indeed, with a little effort you can see it before sunset).
The brightest (spectacularly so) object above the western horizon it is visible up to three hours or more after sunset (depending on how flat your western horizon is) when the sky is fully dark.
On November 1 Venus is at its greatest distance from the Sun.
Venus moves from the constellation Ophiuchus to the Constellation of Sagittarius. It is a distinct half moon shape in even small telescopes. This week Venus is in the heart of the Milky Way, and passes with binocular distance of the beautiful cluster M21 and the Lagoon and Triffid nebulas between the 3rd-6th.
On the 7th the crescent Moon is not far from Venus.
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
Saturn is lost in the twilight.
Jupiter is in the constellation Gemini. Mars is is in the constellation of Leo.
Mars rises still higher in the morning twilight, and is visible well before twilight. Mars starts the week near the bright star Regulus and continues to draw away during the week. Mars is also not far from comet C/2012 S1 ISON.
Jupiter is now well above the north-eastern horizon near the bright stars Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini. It is quite easy to see in the morning sky well into the twilight. Jupiter's Moons are now readily visible in binoculars.
Comet C/2012 S1 ISON is continuing to brighten.
On November 1 ISON crosses Earth's orbit (although Earth will be over an AU from it at the time)
Currently it is visible in modest amateur instruments such as 8" reflecting telescopes and has been imaged with DSLR cameras at high ISO values.
The image to the left shows a high power view of the region around Mars with ISON (expanded from the unaided eye view above) on November 3rd at Nautical twilight. ISON is close to Sigma Leonis at this time.
The comet most recently been reported somewhere around magnitude 8.5-9.5, the bright Moon being close to ISON makes magnitude estimation hard.
The comet should is on line to be visible in smaller telescopes such as 4" reflectors and strong binoculars under dark skies by the 1st, when the Moon is no longer a problem. You can get a PDF map suitable for printing here.
The comet is to the right of Mars, theoretically making finding it relatively easy,on the 3rd it is close to the moderately bright star Sigma Leonis.
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Venus 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 AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Labels: weekly sky
When you write that Venus reaches its maximum distance from the Sun, is that maximum visual separation ?
I'm guessing so as I am expecting that to be soon given how high in the sky it is !