Tuesday, December 10, 2019
The Sky This Week - Thursday December 12 to Thursday December 19
The Full Moon is Thursday December 12, the Last Quarter Moon is Thursday December 19.The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 19th.
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia 30 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen.
Mars is low above the horizon below Spica and above Mercury. You may need binoculars to see Mercury.Mars is at its closest to the star Zubenelgenubi at this time, but you may need binoculars to see it as well.
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (30 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).
Betelgeuse is a red giant star which forms a distinctive part of the Constellation of Orion. It is a variable star, with small fluctuations in brightness not visible to the casual observer.
However now it has been reported that Betelgeuse has dimmed substantially, to a 25 year low (even though it is still bright to us). It is well worth keeping an eye on it, to see if it dims further. What the dimming means is not clear, but Betelgeuse will be an interesting object over the coming month.
The Geminids are normally a fairly reliable meteor shower, with rates of about a meteor per minute at their best.
This is a poor year for Geminids, as the Full Moon is almost on top of the radiant. The radiant doesn't rise until just before midnight (daylight saving time) in most of Australia, so you will have to disturb your sleep for this one. At 1.00 am in the morning AEDST (midnight, AEST) Castor (alpha Geminorum) is about two hand-spans above the horizon and 10 hand-spans to the left of due north. Pollux, the other twin, is less than a hand-span to the left again. The radiant is just below Castor. Australians should see a meteor every 12 minutes under dark skies in the early morning of the 15th, between 2:00 am and 4:00 am.
Venus is higher above the western horizon in the late evening twilight. Venus is now readily seen up to 90 minutes after sunset.Venus leaves Saturn behind over the week.
Mercury is low in the twilight but is still difficult to see.
Jupiter is barely visible low in the western twilight below Saturn and Venus. Jupiter sets around 45 minutes after sunset. This is the final week to see Jupiter before it disappears in the twilight glow.
Mars is visible in the morning twilight above Mercury. It is closest to the second brightest star in Libra, Zubenelgenubi, on the 13th.
Saturn is above Jupiter and below Venus and near the "handle" of the "teapot of Sagittarius.
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.
Star Map via Virtual sky. Use your mouse to scroll around and press 8 when your pointer is in the map to set to current time.
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/
Labels: weekly sky