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Monday, March 23, 2020


Sky This Week - Thursday March 26 to Thursday April 2

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday, April 1. Venus is prominent in the evening sky well after twilight as it heads towards the Pleiades. Venus is near the crescent Moon on March 28. Four bright planets are visible in the morning skies. Jupiter dominates the morning skies as Mars heads towards Saturn with Mercury below. Mars and Saturn  are closest on April 1. The Red Giant star Betelgeuse in Orion is still dim but is brightening.

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday, April 1.

Sky at 20:10 ACDST on Saturday, March 28 (60 minutes after sunset) looking west as seen from Adelaide. Venus is prominent in the sky. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. Venus is a distinct "half Moon" shape.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia 60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen.

Morning sky at 6:04 ACDST (90 minutes minutes before sunrise) facing east as seen from Adelaide on Wednesday, April 1.

Four bright planets are dominating the morning skies. Mars is at its closest to Saturn  and Mercury is bright below. The inset shows the wide field telescopic view at this time.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise).

Evening sky looking north-west at 20:40 ACDST on Saturday, Saturday, March 28. (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 has begun brightening again, 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 minimum of around magnitude 1.6, but is now brightening again and is about magnitude 1.1. It is still  dimmer than magnitude 1 Aldebaran, the next brightest star just to the west of 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 not interfere with estimates of  Betelgeuses' brightness during 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 over the coming week, and will pass through it next week. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 28th.

Four bright planets grace the morning sky..

Mercury climbs higher the morning sky and getting visibly brighter as it goes.

 Mars is visible high in the morning sky. Mars comes closer to Saturn and is at its closest on April the 1st.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky, moving away from Mars.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky below Jupiter. Mars comes closer to Saturn and the pair are closest on April the 1st.

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/


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