Monday, March 30, 2020
Sky This Week - Thursday April 2 to Thursday April 9
The Full Moon is Wednesday, April 8. This is a perigee Syzygy Moon, where the full moon occurs at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth. This is the closest perigee Syzygy Moon this year. Daylight savings ends on the 5th.
Venus is a distinct "half Moon" shape in even small telescopes.
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia 60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen.
Four bright planets are dominating the morning skies. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars with Mercury is bright below.
Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise).
perigee Moon when the Full Moon is closest to the Earth. This is the closest perigee Syzygy Moon this year. Don't look just at moon rise as the horizon illusion will make the Moon look bigger than it is, wait until it is a decent way above the horizon. The size contrast will be best when comparing to the October 31/November 1 apogee Moon.
A full Moon at perigee has been called a "Super Moon", this is not an astronomical term (the astronomical term is perigee syzygy, but that doesn't trip off the tongue so nicely), but an astrological one first coined in 1979 (see here).
Still, it is a good excuse to get people out and looking at the Moon.
Evening sky looking north-west at 20:30 ACDST on Saturday, April 4. (90 minutes after sunset). Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Orion is readily visible. Betelgeuse is the bright red star to the right of the "saucepan" of Orion.
Betelgeuse continues brightening, so keep watching this iconic star.
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.
Betelgeuse had dimmed substantially and reached a 50 record minimum of around magnitude 1.6, but is now brightening again and is about magnitude 1 around the brightness of magnitude 1 Aldebaran, the next brightest star just to the west of (below) Betelgeuse. Keep an eye on this historic dimming and re-brightening event, observing hints and stars for magnitude estimation are given here. The waxing moon will interfere with estimates of Betelgeuses' brightness towards the end of the week.
Venus is prominent above the western horizon in the early evening sky. Venus is now readily seen up to 90 minutes after sunset. Venus will come closer to the beautiful Pleiades cluster early in the week, and will pass through it on the 3rd and 4th.
Four bright planets grace the morning sky..
Mercury is at its highest in the morning sky and bright. After this week it will begin to sink again
Mars is visible high in the morning sky. Mars is leaving the pair of Saturn and Jupiter behind.
Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky, moving away from Mars. Jupiter and Saturn stay around a hand-span apart during the week.
Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky below Jupiter drawing away from Mars
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.
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/