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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 18 to Thursday January 25

The Last Quarter Moon is  Thursday, January 25. The variable star Mira is close to maximum. Mars and bright Jupiter are close together. Saturn and Mercury are visible in the morning sky and forms a line with the star Antares, Mars, Jupiter and the star Spica. Mercury is lost in the twilight by the end of the week. The asteroid Ceres is visible in binoculars by mid-week.

The New Moon is  Wednesday, January 17.

Morning sky on Saturday January 20 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:19 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter, Mars Saturn and Mercury form a line in the morning sky with the bright stars Antares and Spica.


Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).
Morning sky on Saturday January 20 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 3:001 ACDST the asteroid Ceres is just below the sickle of Leo.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes before sunrise, 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 small that of a 4" Newtonian telescope with a 24 mm eyepiece. Use the horizon charts for orientation first.

The asteroid 1 Ceres is relatively easily visible in binoculars form around the middle of this month, it brightens during this time but there is significant interference from Moonlight by the end of the month.

Ceres is relatively easy to find. It is above the northern horizon at astronomical twilight in the morning, and is just below 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). 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 after their spectacular conjunction last week.


 Mars is moving away from Jupiter after their spectacular conjunction last week.

Mercury is dropping back towards the horizon this week and will be lost in the twilight at the end of the week.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky, leaving Mercury behind.

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 January 13 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:11 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen)

The long period variable star Mira is now near peak brightness, and is 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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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 11 to Thursday January 18

The New Moon is  Wednesday, January 17. The variable star Mira is now bright enough to see easily. Mars and bright Jupiter are close together. On January 12 the crescent Moon forms a triangle with the pair. Mercury and Saturn climb higher in the morning sky and are closest on the 13th, the thin crescent Moon joins the pair on the 15th

The New Moon is  Wednesday, January 17. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 15th.

Morning sky on Friday January 12 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:11 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter and Mars form a triangle with the crescent Moon. Mercury and Saturn as visible close to the horizon.


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

Morning sky on Saturday January 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:11 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter is close to Mars.  The crescent Moon is near Antares.

Mercury and Saturn and Saturn are at their closest.



The inset shows a simulation of the field of view of  a 24 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope bracketing Saturn and Mercury.

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

Venus  is lost in the twilight.

Jupiter climbs still  higher in the morning sky and is moving away from Mars after their spectacular conjunction last week. The pair are still visible together in binoculars for the rest of the week.

On January 12 Mars and Jupiter are visited but the crescent Moon, forming a nice triangle in the sky.

 Mars is moving away from Jupiter after their spectacular conjunction last week. The pair are still visible together in binoculars for the rest of the week.

Mercury is dropping back towards the horizon this week and has a close encounter with Saturn on the  13th  in  the twilight. On the 15th the pair are joined by the thin crescent Moon,

Saturn climbs out of  the twilight, climbing towards Mercury. The pair will are at their closest on the 13th, when they will fit together in low power telescope eyepieces. Being so close to the horizon this will be a viewing challenge. For most of the week they will be visible together in binoculars. Although the planetary pair are close to the triffid and lagoon nebulae, the closeness to the horizon and the approaching dawn means it will be difficult of see these nebulae.


Evening sky on Saturday January 13 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen)

The long period variable star Mira is now near peak brightness, and is 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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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

 

Perigee full Moon of January 2, 2018

Perigee full Moon of January 2, 2018 at 23:00 ACST. Click to embiggen.

After a clear cloud free day, the clouds came over as the moon rose, got this shot in a brief hole in the cloud, the it socked in completely.

My plan to take sequential shots showing the Moon receding was foiled, and I only had time to do this mobile phone shot, not one with my better cameras.

At this time the Moon was 357000 km from Earth, not as good as at astronomical twilight (356896 km) but still closer that the perigee Moon of 4 Dec 2017.

It doesn't look good for Mars and alpha2 librae tomorrow morning.

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Mars and Jupiter in a Spectacular Conjunction in the Morning Sky (3-9 January, 2018)

Morning sky on Sunday January 7 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:05 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter and Mars are spectacularly close together.

The inset shows a simulation of the field of view of  a 12 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope. Mercury is now visible low to the horizon.

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

Over the next few mornings, Mars and Jupiter will be putting on a spectacular display as they dance close together. For mots of this time the pair are visible not only close in the sky with the unaided eye, culminating on the 7th when the pair are only 0.25 degrees apart (less that a quarter of a finger-width). For most of this tome the pair are also visible in initially low, then at their closest in high power telescope eye pieces where the disk of Jupiter it's moons and the tiny disk of Mars may be seen together.

Black and white chart suitable for printing showing the path of Mars and Jupiter over the next three weeks. The chart is printed in telescope orientation, so it is upside down from the chart above. The large circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars, the smaller that of a 24 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope. The next smallest is of  a 12 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope and the smallest of  a 5 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope. Click to embiggen and print.

The viewing week starts tomorrow morning when the bright double star alpha2 Librae (Zubenelgenubi) are at their closest, and visible together in low power telescope eyepieces.

Although viewing can potentially start at 4:00 am, it is better to wait until 4:30 when the pair will be sufficiently high above the horizon murk and surrounding obstacles (this goes for all the observing times, although the charts are for nautical twilight (60 minutes before sunrise), the planets and stars are so bright that encroaching dawn will have little effect at this time. Atmospheric turbulence may make imaging difficult.

Black and white chart suitable for printing showing the path of Mars and Jupiter over the time of closest approach, centred on the 7th. The chart is printed in telescope orientation, so it is upside down from the chart at the top. The large circle is the field of view of  a 24 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope. The next smallest is of  a 12 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope and the smallest of  a 5 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope. Mars is hidden by the cross indicating its position. Click to embiggen and print.

The pair or Jupiter and Mars are visible in binoculars all week, in a 24 mm or equivalent eyepiece (you will need to adjust for your own telescopes characteristics, this is a general guide) from the 5th to the 9th. a 12.25 mm eyepiece from the 6th to the 8th and a 5 mm eyepiece on the 7th. The scale lines on the above charts can give you a guide to your own telescopes field of views with different eye pieces.

As a grand finale, the waning moon is close to the pair on the 11th, and the crescent Moon forms a triangle with them on the 12th.

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The Sky This Week - Thursday January 4 to Thursday January 11

The Last Quarter Moon is  Tuesday, January 9. The variable star Mira is now bright enough to see easily. Mars is easy to see and is heading towards bright Jupiter. The pair are spectacularly close on January 7 and visible together in telescopes. On January 11 the waning Moon forms a line with the pair. Mercury climbs higher in the morning sky followed by Saturn.

The Last Quarter Moon is  Tuesday, January 9.

Morning sky on Sunday January 7 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:05 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter and Mars are spectacularly close together.

The inset shows a simulation of the field of view of  a 12 mm eyepiece on a 114mm Newtonian telescope. Mercury is now visible low to the horizon.

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

Morning sky on Thursday January 11 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:08 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter is close to Mars with the waning Moon nearby. Mercury is more prominent and Saturn is rising to meet it.

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

Venus  is lost in the twilight.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky and is now quite prominent. It is moving away from  the bright double star alpha2 Librae (Zubenelgenubi). The pair and Mars are visible together in binoculars at the start of the week, as well at the start of the the week Mars and Jupiter can be seen together in low power telescope eyepieces.

On January 7 Mars and Jupiter are spectacularly close, being 0.25 degrees apart (around a quarter of a finger width). At this time the pair are visible together in high power telescope eye pieces.

 Mars is close to the bright double star alpha2 Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and moving towards Jupiter. At the beginning of the week the trio are visible together in binoculars. At this time Spica, Mars, alpha2 Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and Jupiter form a line in the morning sky. On the 4th Mars and Zubenelgenubi are visible together in low power telescope eyepieces. Mars than leaves Zubenelgenubi behind and closes in on Jupiter, on the 5th Mars and Jupiter are visible together in low power telescope eye pieces. The pair come closer and are visible together in high power telescope eye pieces on the 7th. They then draw apart and are visible in medium power telescope eyepieces on the 8th.

Mercury is now rising rapidly into the morning skies, and will be highest on the 2nd, it then drops back towards the horizon and a close encounter with Saturn in  the twilight.


Saturn climbs out of  the twilight, climbing towards Mercury. The pair will meet next week.

Evening sky on Saturday January 6 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:19 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen)

The long period variable star Mira is now near peak brightness, and is 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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Sunday, December 31, 2017

 

The Perigee Moon ("Super Moon") of Tuesday January 2, What Can You See?

The  Full Moon of Tuesday, 2 January is a perigee Moon when the Full Moon is closest to the Earth. This is hot on the heels of the Monday, December 4 perigee Moon.

A full Moon at perigee has been called a "Super Moon", this is not an astronomical term (the astronomical term is perigee syzygy, but that doesn't trip off the tongue so nicely), but an astrological one first coined in 1979 (see here).

Still, it is a good excuse to get people out and looking at the Moon.

Chart comparing the binocular/telescopic appearance of the December 2017 Full Perigee Moon and the 2 January 2018 Full Perigee Moon with the apogee Moon of  July 27 2018, all times are at local astronomical twilight, 90 minutes after sunset. . As you can see the January 2 Perigee Moon is slightly larger than the 4 December 2017 Perigee Moon. Click to embiggen.

While perigee (closest approach) of the Moon is actually during daylight hours on the 2nd, the rising Moon is still closer than the December 4 perigee Moon at its closest approach (356946 km at astronomical twilight vs 357493 km on 4 December at closest approach (which was before the Moon rose here in Australia).

Even so it will be hard to distinguish from most normal full Moons. However, if you have a good memory you should be able to distinguish it from the apogee mini-Full Moon of June 8 2017, or keep it is mind for the upcoming apogee mini-Full Moon 27 July 2018.
However, this will be a good opportunity to image the full moon through telescopes or binoculars. During the night the full Moon will recede from Earth, and images taken at hourly intervals (and at the same scale) should show the Moon shrinking. If you then image the Moon at the same scale on the night of the apogee Full Moon of 27 July, the difference in size will be obvious.

Full details and links to hints on imaging the perigee Moon are at the 4 December Perigee Moon page.

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Southern Skywatch January 2018 edition is now out!

Evening sky as seen on January 31 at 22:30 ACDST, with the total Lunar eclipse well under way on a "Blue" Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

The January edition of Southern Skywatch is  now up.

This month  sees most of the action move in the morning sky. Speedy Mercury  and Saturn return to the morning twilight.

January 2; Moon at Perigee ("Super Moon").

 Mars and  Jupiter climb higher in the morning sky. January 7; Jupiter and Mars very close. January 12; crescent Moon, Mars and Jupiter form a triangle.

January 13; Saturn and Mercury close. January 15; Moon at Apogee. January 15; Thin crescent Moon close to Saturn and Mercury low in morning twilight.

Jan 15-31; Asteroid Ceres visible in binoculars.

January 29; variable star Mira at maximum brightness.

January 31; "Blue" Moon and total Lunar Eclipse. This is the first total lunar eclipse since September 2015, and the best of the two Lunar eclipses this year.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

 

Coming Events: A Year of Southern Astronomy for 2018

The planets on 13 October 2018 at 21:15 ACDST, 45 minutes after sunset, All 5 bright classical planets, Neptune and the crescent Moon form a line in the evening twilight. Uranus is just rising at this time. Click to embiggen.

The table below shows significant astronomical events that can be seen with the unaided eye or minimal equipment in 2018 in Australia (and to some degree elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, ocultations and eclipses are very region specific) are listed in this table.

Close pairings of the Moon and bright planets are given special attention as not only is the Moon a ready guide to locating the planets if you are not familiar with them, these massings are rather beautiful. 


Special events are bolded.

Sadly, the partial solar eclipse is just visible from parts of southern Australia, but we have two good total lunar eclipses, the best for some years, and there are a number of beautiful planetary events to keep us occupied. There may even be an unaided eye comet and asteroid Vesta should be visible to the unaided eye too.

UPDATE: reader Scott has created an iCal for this list that you can import into your calendar.  I have htmlised the link http://subscriptions.thismonkey.com//fixtures/astro/calendars/astro/2018/1/astro_1_2018.ics


DateEvent
1 January 2018Mars three finger-widths from Jupiter in the morning skies
2 January 2018Perigee ("Super") Moon
 7 January 2018Jupiter and Mars at their closest, less than half a finger-width apart
12 January 2018Crescent Moon, Mars and Jupiter form a triangle
13 January 2018Mercury less than a finger-width from Saturn in the morning sky
15 January 2018thin crescent Moon near Mercury and Saturn
27-31 January 2018Asteroid Ceres visible in binoculars
31 January 2018Blue Moon, Total Lunar Eclipse ~11pm AEST
8 February 2018Waning Moon close to Jupiter in Morning sky
10 February 2018Waning Moon close to Mars
13 February 2018Crescent Moon close to Saturn
4 March 2018Venus and Mercury very close, low in the evening twilight
7 March 2018Moon close to Jupiter
10-11 March 2018Moon close to Mars
11-12 March 2018Moon close to Saturn
19 March 2018thin crescent Moon close to Mercury and Venus in evening twilight
20 March 2018Mars close to Triffid Nebula
1-3 April 2018Mars and globular cluster M22 less than a finger-width apart in morning sky
 2 April 2018Mars and Saturn close, a finger-width apart
 3 April 2018Moon close to Jupiter in evening sky
15 April 2018thin crescent Moon close to Mercury in morning twilight
18 April 2018crescent Moon close to Venus in evening sky
30 April 2018Moon close to Jupiter in evening sky
1-30 May 2018Saturn within 2finger-widths of globular cluster M22, closest on the 15th
 4 May 2018Moon close to Saturn
6 May 2018Moon close to Mars
6 May 2018Eta Aquariid meteor shower.
 9 May 2018Jupiter at opposition
14-15 May 2018Mars less than half a finger-width from globular cluster M75
17-18 May 2018crescent Moon close to Venus
21 May 2018Venus close to M35
27 May 2018Moon close to Jupiter
 1 June 2018Moon and Saturn close
 3 June 2018Moon and Mars close
16 June 2018Crescent Moon near Venus
19 June 2018Asteroid Vesta at opposition, potentially visible with the unaided eye
20 June 2018Venus in the Beehive cluster
21 June 2018crescent Moon and Venus close
23 June 2018Moon and Jupiter close
27 June 2018Saturn at opposition
28 June 2018Saturn close to the Moon
 1 July 2018Mars and Moon close
 4 July 2018Mercury close to Beehive cluster
13 July 2018Partial Eclipse of the sun, visible only southern SA and VIC
15 July 2018thin crescent Moon and  Mercury close in the twilight
16 July 2018crescent Moon and Venus close
21 July 2018Moon and Jupiter close
25 July 2018Moon and Saturn close
27 July 2018Mars at Opposition, the best since 2003
28 July 2018Total Lunar Eclipse, early morning
30 July 2018Southern Delta Aquarids meteor shower
14 August 2018Crescent Moon close to Venus
17 August 2018Moon close to Jupiter
21 August 2018Moon close to Saturn
30 August 2018Saturn close to Triffid Nebula
1-2 September 2018Venus and Spica close
12-13 September 2018Crescent Moon close to Venus
14 September 2018crescent Moon close to Jupiter
18 September 2018Moon close to Saturn
20 September 2018Moon and Mars close
10-20 October 2018All 5 bright planets visible in early evening sky
10 October 2018Mercury and Crescent Moon close
11 October 2018crescent Moon near Venus
12 October 2018crescent Moon close to Jupiter
15 October 2018Moon close to Saturn
16 October 2018Venus and Mercury close
18 October 2018Moon close to Mars.
22 October 2018Orionid meteor shower
28 October 2018Mercury and Jupiter close
 9 November 2018Jupiter crescent Moon close
11 November 2018Crescent Moon and Saturn close
16 November 2018 Moon close to Mars
17 November 2018Leonid Meteor Shower
26 November 2018Variable star Mira at its brightest
1-20 December 2018 Comet 46P potentially visible to the unaided eye
 4 December 2018Crescent Moon close to Venus in morning twilight
 9 December 2018Crescent Moon close to Saturn in evening twilight
15 December 2018Geminid Meteor shower
14-15 December 2018Moon close to Mars
22 December 2018Jupiter and Mercury very close in dawn sky

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday December 28 to Thursday January 5

The Full Moon is  Moon is Tuesday, January 2. This is a perigee moon (so called "Super Moon"). The Earth is at perihelion on January 3. The variable star Mira is now bright enough to see easily. Mars is easy to see and is heading towards bright Jupiter. Jupiter, Mars and the bright star alpha2 Librae form a line. Mercury reappears in the morning sky.

The Full Moon is  Moon is Tuesday, January 2. This is a perigee moon (so called "Super Moon") when the full Moon is closest to the Earth. The Earth is at perihelion on January 3. This when Earth is closest to the Sun.

Evening sky on January 2 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:19 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). The perigee full Moon is rising. The summer constellations of Taurus, Orion, Canis Major, Puppis and Carina are above the horizon. The beautiful clusters of the Pleiades and the Southern Pleiades (Theta Carina) are visible as well.(click to embiggen).

While perigee (closest approach) of the Moon is actually during daylight hours on the 2nd, the rising Moon is still closer than last Months Perigee Moon at its closest approach (356946 km at astronomical twilight vs 357493 km on 4 December at closest approach. Even so it will be hard to distinguish for most normal full Moons.However, if you have a good memory you should be able to distinguish it fro the apogee mini-Full Moon 27 July 2018.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen). Full details and links to hints on imaging the perigee Moon are at the 4 December Perigee Moon page.

 Saturn is lost in the twilight.

Morning sky on Saturday December 30 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 4:57 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter is prominent and can be seen close to the alpha2 Librae, forming a line with Mars.

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

Venus  is lost in the twilight.

Jupiter climbs higher in the morning sky and is now quite prominent. It is moving away from  the bright double star alpha2 Librae (Zubenelgenubi). The pair and Mars are visible together in binoculars at the start of the week, by the end of the week Mars and Jupiter can be seen together in low power telescope eyepieces, ahead to their spectacular conjunction on the 7th.

 Mars is moving towards Jupiter and the bright double star alpha2 Librae (Zubenelgenubi). At the begining of the week the trio are visible together in binoculars. At this time Spica, Mars, alpha2 Librae (Zubenelgenubi) and Jupiter form a line in the morning sky. Mars moves towards Zubenelgenubi and Jupiter. Between the 2nd and 4th Mars and Zubenelgenubi are visible together in low power telescope eyepieces. Mars than leaves Zubenelgenubi behind and closes in on Jupiter, on the 5th Mars and Jupiter are visible together in low power telescope eye pieces, ahead of their spectacular conjunction on the 7th.


Mercury is now rising rapidly into the morning skies, and will be highest on the 2nd, it then drops back towards the horizon and a close encounter with Saturn in  the twilight.


Evening sky on January 2 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 22:19 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen)

The long period variable star Mira is now near peak brightness, and is 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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Saturday, December 23, 2017

 

Christmas Day ISS pass in the morning (Dec 25, 2017)

The ISS passes Through Orion, as seen from Melbourne on the morning of Monday 25 December at 4:52 AEDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes above Orion, as seen from Adelaide on the morning of Monday 25 December at 4:22 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes passes above Orion, as seen from Perth on the morning of Monday 25 December at 3:25 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Thursday 21 December for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Thursday 21 December for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Thursday 21 December for Perth.

On Christmas morning there is a very bright ISS pass, (two for some favoured sites) where the ISS passes through or above Orion, in some locations the pass is close to the bright star Sirius in the western sky in others it is close to crux (Canopus for Darwin).

This pass is for people who are up feeding Santa's reindeer at that early hour. If the small ones are up then as well this could be a Santa Sleigh moment.
 
The following tables are from data provided from Heavens Above.

Passes from Adelaide
Date Brightness Start Highest point End Pass type
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.

25 Dec-0.802:43:2310°SSW02:45:3917°SSE02:47:5210°ESEvisible

Passes from Brisbane

25 Dec-1.102:17:0010°S02:19:3520°SE02:22:0810°Evisible
25 Dec-2.603:53:2110°WSW03:55:5822°NW03:58:3310°Nvisible

Passes from Darwin
25 Dec-3.904:58:5010°SW05:02:0782°SE05:05:2210°NEvisible


Passes from Melbourne
25 Dec-2.503:13:1410°SW03:16:2540°SE03:19:3410°ENEvisible
25 Dec-2.404:50:1710°W04:52:4018°NW04:55:0210°Nvisible


Passes from Perth
25 Dec-4.003:22:1810°SW03:25:3771°NW03:28:5210°NEvisible


Passes from Sydney

25 Dec-2.403:15:0010°SSW03:18:0940°SE03:21:1710°ENEvisible
25 Dec-2.104:52:2710°W04:54:2014°NW04:56:1310°NNWvisible


When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location, a small difference in location can mean the difference between the ISS passing over a star or missing it completely.
 
As allways, start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions. Use the most recent prediction for your site. 
 
Mars, Jupiter and the bright star Spica from a line in the east was well, so it should be fine viewing for those up at that early hour.

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