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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 26 to Thursday June 2

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday May 29. Jupiter is visible all evening long. Mars is visible all night long. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. Mercury climbs higher the morning sky. Venus is lost in the twilight.Comet C/2013 X1 PanSTARRS is visible in binoculars in the morning sky.

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday May 29.

Evening sky on Saturday May 28 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. The inset is the telescopic view of Jupiter at 20:00 ACST. 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 is high in the evening sky as the sun sets, and is  good for telescopic observation from around 18:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight all evening. On the 28st Io crosses Jupiter's face around 19:00, then its shadow follows from around 20:00..

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of  Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star above the western horizon in the early evening.

Evening sky on Saturday May 28 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. The inset shows telescopic views of Mars and Saturn. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the evening skies in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week in the headin front of the star Dschubba and foring a line with Dschubba and Anatres.  As well Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares. Mars was at opposition on May 22, but Mars will be big and bright for all this week. It is visible all night long. In even small telescopes Mars will be a visible disk, and you should see its markings.

 Saturn is reasonably high in the evening sky and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares. It is now high enough for good telescopic observation in the evening.

Venus is lost in the twilight.

Morning sky at 6:00 ACST facing east as seen from Adelaide.Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mercury climbs higher in the morning sky, but is still low to the horizon.

Comet C/2013 X1 (PANSTARRS) is now high enough above the horizon murk in the morning sky to be readily visible before twilight. It is currently around magnitude 7. A guide to seeing it is here.

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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Sunday, May 22, 2016

 

Catch a Series of Bright International Space Sation Passes (23-30 May 2016)

The ISS passes below Jupiter, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of  Tuesday 24 May at 17:52 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes below Jupiter, as seen from Brisbane on the on the evening of  Wednesday 25 May at 17:33 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes above Jupiter, as seen from Perth on the evening of  Tuesday 24 May at 17:56 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Tuesday 24 May for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Wednesday 25 May for Brisbane.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Tuesday 24 May for Perth.

This week there a series of bright passes of the International Space Station occurring in the early evening. In some places in Australia the ISS will pass close to Jupiter, in others there are close passes to brig stars..

Tuesday evening (24 May) sees the  ISS pass close to Jupiter as seen from Perth and Adelaide. On Wednesday 25 the ISS passes close to Jupiter as seen from Brisbane.

There's lots more, although several are close to the horizon. For example, on the 23rd from Brisbane the ISS will pass close to alpha Centauri, On the 24th from Melbourne, the ISS passes through Orion's Belt.

When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location (I'm using Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth as examples, choosing  some of the more distinctive events, but there are lots more that are perfectly nice.).
 
Start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

 

My Guide to the Opposition of Mars, May 22, 2016



Evening sky on Sunday May 22 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. The inset shows telescopic views of Mars and Saturn. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).
My guide to the opposition of Mars is here.
http://www.users.on.net/~reynella/skywatch/mars2016.htm

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 19 to Thursday May 26

The Full Moon is Sunday May 22. Jupiter is visible all evening long. Mars is at opposition on the 22nd. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. On the 22nd Mars, the Moon, Saturn and Antares from a diamond shape in the sky. Mercury returns to the morning sky. Venus is lost in the twilight.Comet C/2013 X1 PanSTARRS is visible in binoculars in the morning sky.

The Full Moon is Sunday May 22.

Evening sky on Saturday May 21 looking 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 18:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight all evening. On the 21st Io crosses Jupiter's face around 18:00, then its shadow, then finally Europa at 22:00.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of  Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star above the western horizon in the early evening.

Evening sky on Sunday May 22 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. The inset shows telescopic views of Mars and Saturn. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the evening skies in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week in the very head of the Scorpion between the stars Dschubba and Acab.  Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares. On the 22nd Mars will be at opposition, when Mars will be biggest and brightest when seen from Earth. It is visible all night long. In even small telescopes Mars will be a visible disk, and you should see its markings. Also on the 22nd Mars, the Moon, Saturn and Antares from a diamond shape in the sky.

Saturn is reasonably high in the evening sky and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares. It is now high enough for good telescopic observation in the evening.

Venus is lost in the twilight.


Morning sky at 6:00 ACST facing east as seen from Adelaide.Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mercury returns to the Morning sky, and is low to the horizon.

Comet C/2013 X1 (PANSTARRS) is now high enough above the horizon murk in the morning sky to be readily visible before twilight. It is currently around magnitude 7. A guide to seeing it is here.

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, May 16, 2016

 

Seeing comet C/2013 X1 PanSTARRS from Australia (May 2016)

Eastern morning sky at 4:00 am ACST, 16 May as seen from Adelaide. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (and most of the Southern Hemisphere). Click to embiggen.

Comet C/2013 X1 (PANSTARRS) is now high enough above the horizon murk to be readily visible before twilight.  It is currently around magnitude 7, bright enough to be seen readily in strong binoculars (the latest sighting was in 11x70mm Binoculars, but 10x50's should work as well). Over the weeks it will brighten possible to magnitude 6, where it will be (just) visible to the unaided eye under dark skies.

Comet C/2013 X1 is showing a nice double tail reminiscent of C/2013 US10 Catalina in deep telescopic imaging, but with visual observation is is more like a ball of cotton wool. It is at a suitable height from around 4 am to astronomical twilight.

Printable black and white map of the eastern morning sky showing the track of comet C/2013 X1 over the coming month. Click to embiggen and print

The comet is in Aquarius, and is close to a number of distinctive stars which makes it easy to star hop to for most of May.

Directly above the eastern horizon is the reasonably bright star Fomalhaut. With binoculars, sweep down diagonally to the north around four binocular fields until you reach the distinctive grouping of Phi and Psi Aquarii. Phi and the double star Psi Aquarii form a distinctive triangle. Over the next few days the comet will lie between these stars.

Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing,  showing a higher power view of the area around the comet. Use in conjunction with the spotters map above. The circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. Click to embiggen and print.

Printable PDF maps of the spotters map, and the binocular map 



For the first week the comet will be within the same binocular field as Phi and Psi Aquarii. For the next week, sweeping back up from Phi and Psi Aquarii towards Fomalhaut will bring you to the comet.

Unfortunately, while the comet is brightening, the waxing Moon set later and later, by the 19th the Moon is setting when the comet is a good hight to view. The Moon is full on the 22nd, making it hard to see the comet. While the Moon wanes after this it comes closer to the comet, and on the 29th and 30th the last quarter Moon is just under two hand-spans from the comet, so it may be difficult to spot in the Moonlight. After this the comet should be readily visible again.

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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Sunday, May 15, 2016

 

Iridium Flare Below The Moon and Jupiter 15-05-16 (18:50)

Location of iridium flare at 18:50:48 ACST as seen from Adelaide. The star marks to flare location.

This evening in about 40 minutes an iridium flare will occur just below the Moon and Jupiter as seen from Adelaide. The flare will only be around magnit-1, but the combination of Jupiter, the Moon and the flare will look nice. See Heavens Above http://www.heavens-above.com/





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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 12 to Thursday May 19

The First Quarter Moon is Saturday May 14. Jupiter is visible all evening long. Venus is lost in the twilight. Saturn is close to the red star Antares and forms a triangle with Mars. Mars is in retrograde motion and enters the head of the Scorpion this week.

The First Quarter Moon is Saturday May 14. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 19th.

Evening sky on Sunday May 15 looking north 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 19:00 on. Jupiter's Moons will be an excellent sight all evening. On the 12th Io crosses Jupiter's face then on the 14th Europa crosses Jupiter's face.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of  Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star above the western horizon in the early evening.

Evening sky on Saturday May 14 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn and Antares form a triangle. The inset shows telescopic views of Mars and Saturn. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Mars is high in the evening skies in the head of the Scorpion.

Mars starts the week not far from the star Acab in Scorpio. Acab is one of three stars that defines the head of the Scorpion. Mars forms a triangle with Saturn and the red star Antares. By the end of the week Mars is in the very head of the Scorpion between the stars Dschubba and Acab.

Saturn is reasonably high in the evening sky and is readily visible below Scorpius. Saturn forms a triangle with Mars and the red star Antares. It is now high enough for good telescopic observation in the evening

Venus is lost in the twilight.

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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