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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday March 30 to Thursday April 6

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday April 4. Daylight savings ends Sunday April 2.Mars is low in the twilight. The Thin crescent Moon is inside the head of Taurus the Bull on the 1st. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are close in the late evening skies, with Jupiter close to opposition. Saturn is high in the morning sky.

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday April 4. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 30th.

Evening sky on Saturday April 1 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:05 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon, the thin crescent Moon is in the head of Taurus the Bull, just below Aldebaran.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Mercury is low the evening twilight, but is difficult to see, you will need a clear, unobscured level horizon (like the ocean) to see it.

Mars is in the western evening skies in Aires. It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight. Nearby, the thin crescent Moon is in the head of Taurus the Bull, just below Aldebaran.

Evening sky on Saturday April 1 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACDST.  Jupiter is above the horizon close to the bright star Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time with Io and its shadow transiting Jupiter's face. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising at dusk and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the evening this week. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo.

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, is next week. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 10 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Wed 29 Mar 20:30 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 30 Mar 4:15 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 30 Mar 6:26 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 30 Mar 6:40 Io : Reappears from Occultation
Thu 30 Mar 21:28 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Thu 30 Mar 21:49 Eur: Transit Ends
Fri 31 Mar 1:35 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Fri 31 Mar 1:48 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Fri 31 Mar 2:17 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 31 Mar 3:47 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Fri 31 Mar 3:58 Io : Transit Ends
Fri 31 Mar 22:08 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 31 Mar 22:44 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Sat 1 Apr 1:29 Gan: Transit Begins               ST
Sat 1 Apr 2:59 Gan: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Sat 1 Apr 3:27 Gan: Transit Ends
Sat 1 Apr 19:04 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Sat 1 Apr 19:14 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Sat 1 Apr 21:15 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Sat 1 Apr 21:24 Io : Transit Ends
Sun 2 Apr 2:55 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 2 Apr 22:46 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 3 Apr 18:37 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 4 Apr 4:33 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 5 Apr 0:24 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 5 Apr 2:20 Eur: Disappears into Eclipse
Wed 5 Apr 4:53 Eur: Reappears from Occultation
Wed 5 Apr 20:15 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 6 Apr 5:10 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 6 Apr 6:11 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 6 Apr 20:36 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        S
Thu 6 Apr 20:43 Eur: Transit Begins               ST
Thu 6 Apr 23:04 Eur: Sh Ends & Tr Ends 

Morning  sky on Saturday April 1 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:04 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Saturn is high above the horizon.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise). (click to embiggen).

 Saturn rises higher in darker morning skies this week. Saturn is now high enough above north-eastern horizon to see easily and is now a good telescopic target. It continues to climb into darker skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula. With the Moon waning this is now an attractive view again..

The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the north-eastern horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look below that towards the horizon, the next bright object is Saturn.

Venus  returns to the morning sky, but is too low in the twilight this week for good observation.


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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