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Tuesday, November 03, 2015


The Sky This Week - Thursday November 5 to Thursday November 12

The New Moon is Thursday November 12. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and comes very close to the star nu Scorpii. In the morning the planet dance continues, the Moon, Jupiter, Venus and Mars from a line in the morning sky. The Moon is close to Jupiter on the 7th and is close to Venus and Mars on the 8th.

The New Moon is Thursday November 12.The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 8th.

Evening sky on Sunday October 25 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:45 ACST.  Saturn is  visible  above the western horizon in the head of the Scorpion, extremely close to the star nu Scorpii. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Saturn is easily visible from twilight in the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive back to front "question mark" constellation of the Scorpion above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed. Saturn is between to  bright star Graffias (Beta1 Scorpius) at and  the double star nu Scorpii at the start of the week. It continues to move closer to nu Scorpii and will be closest on the 7th, when the two will seem to merge together, the will be close in medium power telescope eyepieces, but being so close to the horizon may make imaging difficult. .

The addition of Saturn to the head of the Scorpion changes it quite a bit, giving it a distinct "hammer head".

While Saturn is still visible from the end of twilight, it is rapidly heading towards the horizon. There is only a narrow window for observation from around 8:30 until around 9:00 pm as it gets too close to the horizon. This is still a good time to scan the tail of Scorpius and Sagittarius with binoculars to reveal the clusters in and around the Scorpions tail, they will remain reasonably visible until around 11 pm.

Early morning sky on Sunday November 8 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 ACDST showing Jupiter,  Mars, Venus and the crescent Moon close together. Venus and Mars are at their closest. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter  rises higher in the morning skies and may require a flat unobstructed horizon  to see it early in the week. 

Mars remains low the morning skies this week.  While it is climbing into darker skies it may still require a reasonably unobstructed horizon to see effectively.

Venus is easy to see in the morning twilight. It is a  distinct "half Moon" shape and impressive in a small telescope.

The crescent Moon  Jupiter, Mars, Venus and the bright stars Regulus form a line in the sky this week. Venus starts the week close to Mars. Over the week Venus draws away from  Mars.The Moon approaches the trio of Jupiter Venus and Mars and is close to Jupiter on the 7th and Venus and Mars on the 8th.

More details of the Planet Dance with charts and animation here.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Saturn 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.
Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/


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