Wednesday, February 01, 2017
The Sky This Week - Thursday February 2 to Thursday February 9
The First Quarter Moon is Saturday February 4. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 6th.
Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).
Venus is high in the dusk sky and intensely bright. It can be seen easily from somewhat before half an hour after sunset to two hours after sunset. It stays dazzlingly brilliant above the horizon in truly dark skies well into the evening. Venus has been mistaken for flares or landing aeroplanes it is so bright now.
Venus is in a very star poor field in Aquarius. Venus is a distinct "half Moon" shape in telescopes. On the 2nd Venus, Mars and the crescent Moon form a line.
Mars is in the western evening skies in Aquarius, close to the Aquarius/Pisces border. Mars remains in a star poor area.
Mars was at opposition on May 22, 2016 and is still visibly dimming. While still brighter than any of the nearby stars, it is much faded and not immediately obvious, It is no longer a modest telescope object. Mars is visible most of the evening setting before midnight. In small telescopes Mars will be a visible, but tiny, gibbous disk, however you are unlikely to see its markings.
Jupiter rises even higher into the morning skies this week. It is now well above the eastern horizon and is easy to see as the brightest object above the northern horizon from around an hour and a half before sunrise. It is also riging just before midnight, but remains low to the horizon this week. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 1 am, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEDST.
Thu 2 Feb 2017 03:05 Eur: Transit Ends Fri 3 Feb 2017 00:47 Gan: Transit Ends Fri 3 Feb 2017 06:12 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Sat 4 Feb 2017 02:03 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Sat 4 Feb 2017 04:56 Io : Shadow Transit Begins S Sat 4 Feb 2017 06:06 Io : Transit Begins ST Sun 5 Feb 2017 02:04 Io : Disappears into Eclipse Sun 5 Feb 2017 05:23 Io : Reappears from Occultation Mon 6 Feb 2017 00:33 Io : Transit Begins ST Mon 6 Feb 2017 01:37 Io : Shadow Transit Ends T Mon 6 Feb 2017 02:44 Io : Transit Ends Mon 6 Feb 2017 03:41 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Mon 6 Feb 2017 23:32 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Mon 6 Feb 2017 23:51 Io : Reappears from Occultation Tue 7 Feb 2017 06:46 Eur: Disappears into Eclipse Wed 8 Feb 2017 05:19 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian Thu 9 Feb 2017 00:54 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins S Thu 9 Feb 2017 01:10 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Saturn rises higher in darker morning skies this week. Saturn is now high enough above eastern horizon to see easily. It continues to climb into darker skies as the week progresses.
The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn and Mercury. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the eastern horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look below that towards the horizon, the next bright object is Saturn, followed by Mercury.
Mercury is slowly returning towards the horizon but is still readily visible this week.
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/
Labels: weekly sky