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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 8 to Thursday February 15

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday, February 8. Mars, bright Jupiter and Saturn form a line together with the bright stars Antares and Spica in the morning skies. Jupiter and the last quarter Moon close on the 8th. Mars is close to the Moon on the 9th and 10th. Saturn is close to the crescent Moon on the 12th. The pair and the globular cluster M22 are together in binoculars at this time. The asteroid Ceres is visible in binoculars. Mira still bright but fading.

The Last Quarter Moon is  Thursday, February 8.


Morning sky on Thursday February 8 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:33 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter, Mars and Saturn form a line in the morning sky with the bright stars Antares and Spica (off the chart to the left). The Last Quarter Moon is close to Jupiter.


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



Morning sky on Monday February 12 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:45 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Mars is at its closest to Antares. The thin crescent Moon is close to Saturn. The inset is a simulated binocular view of Saturn as seen through 10x50s.  Over the week Saturn will move slowly closer to M22.



Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time.


Evening sky on Saturday February 10 looking north as seen from Adelaide at midnight ACDST the asteroid Ceres is between the sickle of Leo and the bottom star of the constellation of Cancer, the crab.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).





 
Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing (click to embiggen and print).

The large circle represents the field of view of 10x50 binoculars.

The asteroid 1 Ceres is relatively easily visible in binoculars until around the middle of this month, it fades during this time but interference from Moonlight is reduced by mid-month.

Ceres is relatively easy to find. It is above the northern horizon at midnight , and is just between Kappa Leo, The brightish star the is the tip of the sickle of Leo (see charts, if you centre your binoculars on Kappa Leo Ceres will be just below it) and Iota Cancerii (the bottom brightish star of Cancer. You may need to watch night to night as the asteroid moves to be sure of its identity.
 
Venus  is lost in the twilight.

Jupiter climbs still  higher in the morning sky and is moving away from Mars. On the 8th the Last Quarter Moon is close to Jupiter.

 Mars is in the head of Scorpius the scorpion. Mars moves closer to Antares (the rival of Mars) over the week and is closest on Monday 12th. The waning Moon is close to Mars on the 9th and 10th.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula, including the Lagoon nebula and the bright globular cluster M22. On the 12th the thin crescent Moon is close to Saturn. at this time the Moon, Saturn and the globular cluster M22 fit together in the filed of view of 10x50 binoculars.

The bright planets form a line in the morning sky  with the bright stars Antares and Spica, this will look quite attractive.

Evening sky on Saturday February 4 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 21:45 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen)

The long period variable star Mira is fading from peak brightness, but is still easily visible to the unaided eye, even in Moonlight.  The circle marks the location of Mira in the rambling constellation of Cetus. The Arrow shaped head of  Taurus the bull points almost directly at Mira. This is a good time to see this iconic variable star

 Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen).

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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