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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

 

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

The New Moon is Wednesday, September 20. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the early evening sky. Saturn is visible all evening in the heart of the Milky Way. Venus is now low in  the morning sky coming close to the bright star Regulus. The thin crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 18th.

The New Moon is Wednesday, September 20.

Evening sky on Saturday September 16 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 19:02 ACST  (60 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is above the horizon close to the bright star Spica.  The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is setting mid evening and is above the western horizon in the early evening at full dark. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. Over the week Jupiter moves away from Spica

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, was on April the 8th. Jupiter is rising before the sun sets and sets around 8:30 pm local time. Jupiter is now too low to be a good telescopic target, but the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Fri 15 Sep 20:17 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 17 Sep 19:04 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Mon 18 Sep 18:24 Io : Transit Ends                 S
Mon 18 Sep 19:01 Io : Shadow Transit Ends
Wed 20 Sep 19:27 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Evening sky on Saturday September 16 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 19:32 ACST, 90 minutes after sunset.

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 after sunset, click to embiggen).

Saturn was  at opposition on the 15th, when it was biggest and brightest in the sky as seen from earth. Saturn is visible all evening long. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 7:30 pm until midnight. It is poised above the dark rifts in the Milky Way and is in a good area for binocular hunting. Although still high in the early evening sky, Saturn begins to sink into the western evening skies as the week progresses.  Saturn's rings are visible even in small telescopes and are always good to view.

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

Morning sky on Monday September 18 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 ACST (45 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright just above the horizon and is close to the Moon and the bright star Regulus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 45 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Venus  is lowering in the morning sky and is visible in telescopes as a "Gibbous Moon". This week Venus comes closer to the bright star Regulus. It is becoming hard to see Venus in the early twilight, but it is still brilliant enough to be obvious shortly before sunrise. On the 18th Venus is close to the Crescent Moon and Regulus, There is also a daylight occultation of Venus on the 18th, but this event is for experienced observers only.

 Mars is just emerging from the twilight, but will be difficult to see fro some weeks.

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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