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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday August 17 to Thursday August 24

The New Moon is Tuesday, August 22. Mercury starts the week high above the horizon but sinks rapidly. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the evening sky. Saturn is visible all evening in the heart of the Milky Way. Venus dominates the morning sky forming a triangle with the bright stars Betelgeuse and Procyon and is joined by the crescent Moon on the 19th.

The New Moon is Tuesday, August 22. The Moon is at Perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 18th (There will be a total eclipse of the Sun on August 21 (US time) in the United States, there will be lots of live website viewing for this).

Evening sky on Saturday August 19 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:25 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Mercury is low above the western horizon.

Mercury begins to fall back into the evening twilight sky. It was highest above the horizon on the 12th and  is now heading towards the horizon again. Mercury remains visible around 45 minutes after sunset


Evening sky on Wednesday August 24 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 19:12 ACST  (90 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is above the horizon between the bright star Spica and the relatively bright star Porrima. The crescent Moon is below the trio making a nice evening sight, The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time.

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

Jupiter is rising before sunset and is above the northern-western horizon in the early evening at full dark. It is between the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo, and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to 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 is visible until just before midnight. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from astronomical twilight on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.

Thu 17 Aug 19:12 Io : Transit Begins               T
Thu 17 Aug 20:15 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Thu 17 Aug 21:09 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 17 Aug 21:25 Io : Transit Ends                 S
Fri 18 Aug 18:29 Gan: Disappears into Eclipse
Fri 18 Aug 19:46 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Fri 18 Aug 20:35 Gan: Reappears from Eclipse
Sat 19 Aug 20:14 Eur: Transit Begins               T
Sun 20 Aug 18:40 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 21 Aug 18:55 Eur: Reappears from Eclipse
Tue 22 Aug 20:19 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 24 Aug 21:12 Io : Transit Begins               T
 

Evening sky on Saturday August 12 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 19:46 ACST, when Saturn is at its highest. Saturn is almost overhead high above the northern 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. (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 night long. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 9 pm on. It is poised above the dark rifts in the Milky Way and is in a good area for binocular hunting. It continues to climb into the 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-eastern to northern horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look below that towards the horizon, the next bright object is Saturn.

Morning sky on Saturday August 19 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:56 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus is dazzling below the bright star Betelgeuse and forms a triangle with Procyon and Betelgeuse. The crescent  Moon is close to the Venus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 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 forms a triangle with Procyon and Betelgeuse. The triangle is visited by the creescent Moon on the 19th.

 Mars is lost in the twilight.

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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