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Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The Sky This Week - Thursday October 20 to Thursday October 27

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday October 23. Venus climbs higher in the evening sky, leaving the head of the Scorpion and comes close to Antares and Saturn by the end of the week. Mars leaves the Teapot of Sagittarius behind.The Orionid meteor shower is washed out by moonlight.

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday October 23.

Evening sky on Thursday October 27 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACDST. Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Antares form a nice trail in the sky.  Venus is almost between Antares and Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Venus continues to rise into darker skies this week. Venus is high in the dusk sky and can be seen easily from somewhat before half an hour to a bit after an hour and a half after sunset, staying visible after twilight is over low above the horizon in truly dark skies.

Venus starts the week is close to the star Dschubba in the head of the Scorpion then climbs towards the pair of Antares and Saturn. By the end of the Week it is almost between them.

Jupiter is lost in the twilight.

Evening sky on Saturday October 22 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACDST.  Mars is leaving behind the "teapot" of Sagittarius. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is in the western evening skies above the "teapot" of Sagittarius.

It starts the week above the bright star Nunki, in the "handle" of the "teapot" of Sagittarius.  During the week Mars moves away from Sagittarius towards Capricornius. 

Mars was at opposition on May 22,  and is still visibly dimming, but is still a modest telescope object. It is visible all evening long. In even small telescopes Mars will be a visible, but gibbous, disk, and you may even be able to  see its markings.

 Saturn was at opposition on the 3rd of June. However, Saturn's change in size and brightness is nowhere near as spectacular as Mars's, and Saturn will be a reasonable telescopic object for many weeks. Saturn is readily visible next to Antares in Scorpius. Saturn is still high enough for good telescopic observation in the early evening, setting abut midnight daylight saving time. In even small telescopes its distinctive rings are obvious.

In the early evening the line-up of Venus, Saturn and Mars under dark skies will look very good.

 Mercury is low in the morning twilight but never rises far above the horizon.

The Orionid meteor shower peaks on the early morning of Saturday October 22. The radiant is just below the bright red star Betelgeuse, however, this year the Moon is just below the radiant, so it is not really worth getting up at 3-4 am as the few meteors will all be washed out by bright moonlight (in the countryside you might see one every 10 minutes).

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.
Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/


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