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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 28 to Thursday May 5

The "Blue"  Last Quarter Moon is Saturday April 30. Jupiter is visible all evening long . Venus is low above the horizon in the twilight. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. Mars is in retrograde motion. Start of Eta Aquariid meteor shower.

The  Last Quarter Moon is Saturday April 30. This is a "Blue" Last Quarter Moon, the second Last Quarter Moon this month.

Evening sky on Thursday April 28 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at 23:00 ACST this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter was at opposition on the March 8th, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. However, Jupiter will be an excellent telescopic target for many weeks to come.

Jupiter enters the evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 21:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight late in the evening. On the 28th Europa appears from eclipse.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull) just above the western horizon at the beginning of evening. Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star are above it and set early in the evening.

Evening sky on Saturday April 30 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the morning skies and is now rising in the evening before  midnight. Mars is in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week below the bright red star Antares in Scorpio. Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares.

Saturn is low in the evening sky around midnight and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares.

Early morning sky on  Thursday May 5 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am ACST showing Venus low in the twilight.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Venus is becoming harder to see as it sinks in the  morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.



Morning sky on Thursday May 5 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 4:00 am ACST.  The radiant of the eta Aquariid meteor shower is shown.   Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).

The eta Aquariids meteor shower, the debris from Halleys comet, will peak on May 6 UT . However, good rates (compared to the peak) will be seen from Australia on the morning of the 5th at around one every five minutes, although the best rates are the 7th and 8th with around one meteor every 3 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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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 21 to Thursday April 28

The  Full Moon is Friday April 22 and is the smallest Full Moon this year. Jupiter is visible all night long . Venus is low above the horizon in the twilight. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. Mars is in retrograde motion and is visited by the Moon on the 24th. ANtares, Saturn and Mars are close to the Moon on the 25th.

The  Full Moon is Friday April 22. The Moon is at apogee on the 22nd, and this is the smallest Full Moon this year (a Mini-Moon).

Evening sky on Thursday April 21 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter was at opposition on the March 8th, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. However, Jupiter will be an excellent telescopic target for many weeks to come.

Jupiter enters the evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 21:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight late in the evening. On the 21st Ganymede transits Jupiter and Europa appears from eclipse.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull) just above the western horizon at the beginning of evening. Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star are above it and set early in the evening.

Evening sky on Monday April 25 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle with the Moon nearby. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the morning skies and is now rising in the evening before  midnight. Mars is in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week below the bright red star Antares in Scorpio. Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares. On the 24th and 25t the waxing Moon is near Mars.

Saturn is low in the evening sky around midnight and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares. On the 25th the Moon joins Mars, Saturn and Antares.

Early morning sky on  Sunday April 24 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am ACST showing Venus low in the twilight.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Venus is becoming harder to see as it sinks in the  morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

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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Monday, April 18, 2016

 

Sunspot 2529 visible with safe viewing techniques

Heart-shaped Sunspot 2529 imaged Sunday 17 April at 4:30 pm from Largs North, Adelaide. Canon IXUS at 400 ASA , 1/100 of a second exposure, infinity to infinity focus with a 4" Newtonian and 25 mm eyepiece and neutral density solat filter.

The sunspot is the large dark spot (click to embiggen) and the other dark stuff is junk on the CCD chip.

Sunspot 2529 is big enough to be visible with use safe solar viewing techniques. It will rotate off the sun in a the next two days, but is worthwhile looking at.




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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 14 to Thursday April 21

The  First Quarter Moon is Thursday April 14. Jupiter is  is visible all night long and is close to the Moon on the 18th. Venus is low above the horizon in the twilight. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars which is in on the head of the Scorpion. Mars is stationary on the 17th.

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday April 14.


Evening sky on Monday April 18 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time, showing Io before Jupiter occults it.. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter was at opposition on the March 8th, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. However, Jupiter will be an excellent telescopic target for many weeks to come.

Jupiter enters the evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 21:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight late in the evening. Jupiter occults Io on the 18th, and there is a double transit of Io, Europa and their shadows on the 19th.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull) just above the western horizon at the beginning of evening. Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star are above it and set early in the evening.

Evening sky on Saturday April 16 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 ACST. Mars Saturn and Antares form a triangle. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the morning skies and is now rising in the evening before  midnight. Mars is in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week below the bright red star Antares in Scorpio. Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares. on the 17th Mars's motion comes to a stand still, and then it reveres direction as Earth overtakes it in it orbit.

Saturn is low in the evening sky around midnight and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares.

Early morning sky on  Sunday April 17 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am ACST showing Venus low in the twilight.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Venus is becoming harder to see as it sinks in the  morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

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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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 7 to Thursday April 14

The New Moon is Thursday April 7 and the First Quarter Moon is Thursday April 14. Jupiter is  is visible all night long and has occults a faint star on the 13th. Venus is low above the horizon in the twilight. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars which is in on the head of the Scorpion.

The New Moon is Thursday April 7 and the First Quarter Moon is Thursday April 14. The Moon is at perigee, closest to the Earth, on the 8th.

Evening sky on Wednesday April 13 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 00:30 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time, showing the faint star HIP 54057 before Jupiter occults it.. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter was at opposition on the March 8th, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. However, Jupiter will be an excellent telescopic target for many weeks to come.

Jupiter enters the evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 21:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight late in the evening.

April 12-13 sees an unusual, but telescope only, occultation of a 7th magnitude star by Jupiter. Jupiter passes in front of the dim star HIP 54057 on the morning of April 13 (Eastern and Central states) and evening of the 12th (WA). HIP 54057 is a dim star visible in telescopes (magnitude 7). The occultation will be seen from Eastern Australia at 00:30 am, Central Australia at 00:15 am and in Western Australia at 22:30 pm. The occultation ends after Jupiter has set in the eastern states, at 3:00 am in the central states and 1:30 am on the 13th in Western Australia.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull and the beautiful Pleiades cluster nearby), Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star, above the western horizon at the beginning of evening.

Evening sky on Saturday April 9 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 23:55 ACDST. Mars Saturn and Antares for a triangle. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the morning skies and is now rising in the evening before  midnight. Mars is in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week below a triangle of stars formed by Grafias, the double star omega Scorpii and nu Scoprii. It then moves further down the body of the Scorpion. Mars also forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares.

Saturn is low in the evening sky around midnight and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares.

Early morning sky on  Sunday April 10 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:00 am ACST showing Venus low in the twilight.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Venus is becoming harder to see as it sinks in the  morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

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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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday March 31 to Thursday April 7

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday April 1 and the New Moon is Thursday April 7. Jupiter is  is visible all night long and has some nice Moon events. Venus is low above the horizon in the twilight. The crescent Moon visits Venus on April 6. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars which is in on the head of the Scorpion.

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday April 1 and the New Moon is Thursday April 7.

Evening sky on Sunday April 3 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time, showing Io, Europa and Ganymede. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter was at opposition on the March 8th, when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. However, Jupiter will be an excellent telescopic target for many weeks to come.

Jupiter enters the evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 21:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight late in the evening. On April Io and its shadow cross the face of Jupiter from around 22:00 AEST, while Ganymede goes behind Jupiter. Callisto's shadow transits later.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull and the beautiful Pleiades cluster nearby), Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star, above the western horizon at the beginning of evening.

Evening sky on Saturday April 2 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 23:55 ACDST. Mars Saturn and Antares for a triangle. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the morning skies and is now rising in the evening before  midnight. Mars is in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week below a triangle of stars formed by Grafias, the double star omega Scorpii and nu Scoprii. It then moves further down the body of the Scorpion. Mars also forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares.

Saturn is low in the evening sky around midnight and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares.

Early morning sky on  Wednesday April 6 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:45 am ACST showing Venus and the crescent Moon.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Venus is becoming harder to see as it sinks in the  morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope.It is visited by the crescent Moon on the 6th.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

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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Monday, March 28, 2016

 

Comet 252P in the tail of the Scorpion (morning, 26 March 2016)

252P/LINEAR taken  at 5:00 am AEDST 26/3/16. The image is a stack of 15x 60 second luminance exposures from iTelescope T12 at Siding Spring Observatory. MEDIAN Z projection used on the stack. Click to embiggen.Same as before but a MAX Z projection on 8 of the 15 frames used to show the track of the comet. Click to embiggen.

Comet 252P remains elusive for me from my home. The morning of the 26th it was just near Lesath and Shalula, the two bright stars in the sting of the Scorpions tail (and the two bright stars in the images above). However it was raining here in Adelaide. Fortunately iTelescope at Siding Spring Observatory was clear, and I was able to get these shots of comet 252P.

I used a MEDIAN Z projection registered on the comet to bring the comet out from the background stars, and a MAXIUM Z projection with the images registered on the stars to show the movement of the comet.

Animation of 252P scooting past the Lesath and Shalula. Animation of 8 x 60 second luminance images.

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Comet 252P and the Butterfly Cluster (27 March 2016)

252P/LINEAR taken  at 4:50 am AEDST 27/3/16. The image is a stack of 6x 60 second luminance exposures from iTelescope T12 at Siding Spring Observatory. MAX Z projection used on the stack. Click to embiggen.Same as before but the images are SUMMED in the Z projection. Click to embiggen.

The weather has been cloudy here, and I only got a brief glimpse of the tail of Scorpius through the cloud at 5:00 am on Easter Sunday before it really socked in.  Fortunately iTelescope at Siding Spring Observatory was clear, and I was able to get these shots of comet 252P near the Butterfly Cluster. 6 x 60 second images were stacked in ImageJ and then I experimented with different Z projections to bring out the nebula and dark globules around the Butterfly Cluster (M6). On I used MAX, maximum intensity for each image and the other I simply SUMMED the images.  The comet is a bit overexposed, but the surrounding territory comes out quite nicely.

Animation of 252P scooting past the Butterfly Cluster. Animation of 6x 60 second luminance images.

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