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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 19 to Thursday April 26

The First Quarter Moon is Monday, April 23.  Venus is low in the twilight and is visited by the Moon on the 19th. Jupiter is now rising in the early evening skies. Mars and Saturn are now visible in the late evening skies. Mercury is prominent in the morning skies. The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on the morning of the 23rd, but is really only visible form Brisbane and places north.

The First Quarter Moon is Monday, April 23. The  Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 21st.


Evening twilight sky on Thursday April 19 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:14 ACST (30 minutes after sunset). Venus is just above the horizon in the twilight. The crescent Moon is above it close to the bright star Aldebaran.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Venus is rising higher in the twilight. While is is now much easier to see, you will still need a flat unobscured horizon to see it at its best. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from 15 minutes after sunset, easy to see 30 minutes after sunset and can potentially be viewed as late as an hour after sunset if you have a flat, unobstructed horizon.

Evening sky on Saturday April 21 looking east  as seen from Adelaide at 23:00ACST. Jupiter is  high above the horizon. Saturn is close to the horizon and Mars is just rising.

The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Jupiter and its moons at 3:00 ACST on the 22nd, with Europa and its shadow transiting the face of Jupiter.

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


Morning sky on Saturday April 21 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 5:19 ACST (90 minutes before sunrise). Mars and Saturn are high above the northern horizon and good telescopic viewing. The inset is a simulated telescopic view of Saturn and the globular cluster M22.


Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise).



Morning sky on Saturday April 21 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:45 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Mercury is the brightest object closest to the eastern horizon.











The morning sky looking north as seen from Brisbane at 5:00 am AEST on April 23. The Lyrid radiant is marked with a yellow cross. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at an equivalent local time. The radiant will be higher in northern Australia, and lower in southern Australia (click to embiggen).  
 
The predicted ZHR this year is 18 meteors per hour. This means that under ideal conditions, you will see a meteor on average about once every three minutes. This can be as interesting as watching paint dry. Also, while that meteor every three minutes is the average, meteors are like buses, you wait for ages and then a whole bunch turn up.  But alos, that is under ideal conditions. In Australia, where the radiant is very low above the horizon, you are likely to see a meteor once every 10 minutes from the latitudes of Brisbane, far fewer to the south of this, with the best rates seen from Cairns and Darwin.

Venus  is now sufficiently high in the evening twilight to be readily visible above the horizon if there are not too many trees or buildings in the way. It is  now over a hand-span above the horizon 30 minutes after sunset. It is bright enough to be visible 15 minutes after sunset and easy to see 30 minutes after sunset and can potentially be viewed as late as an hour after sunset if you have a flat, unobstructed horizon. On the 19th the thin crescent Moon is near Venus.

Mercury has returned to the morning sky, and now is in an excellent position for observation. Mercury is the brightest object closest to the eastern horizon.


Jupiter  is rising in the early evening, and is now a good telescopic object in the late evening. There are some good Jovian Moon events this week.

 Mars is in Sagittarius the archer and is now rising in the late evening. Mars is moving away from Saturn although the pair are still obvious together.   Mars is brightening ahead of opposition later this year.

Saturn has entered the evening sky, although telescopically it is still best in the morning sky. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula. It is close to the bright globular cluster M22 and the pair are visible in binoculars and wide field telescope eyepieces.

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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