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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

 

Geomagnetic warning and Aurora Happening NOW (28 March)

Hobart K-Index plot diagramUnaided eye Aurora with beams are being reported over the past hour from multiple sites in Tasmania. The SWS has issued a geomagnetic disturbance alert. Hobart Kindex is 6 but other parameters are less exciting (Velocity: 720 km/sec Bz: 1.0 nT Density = 4.0 p/cc ) although we have had good aurora under these conditions before. Despite consistent reports at the moment conditions may fluctuate rapidly through the evening so there may be several bursts of short lived aurora, last night conditions stabilised around 11 with persistent aurora until around 1 am.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences".

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

The all sky aurora camera in Northern Tasmania at Cressy is being upgraded and is not yet online.

SUBJ: IPS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE ALERT
ISSUED AT 1010 UT ON 28 MAR 2017 BY IPS RADIO AND SPACE SERVICES
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

MINOR (G1 - MINOR) GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE IN PROGRESS (K OF 5 REACHED)
PRELIMINARY AUSTRALIAN REGION K INDICES FOR 28 03 17: 4335 ----


FOLLOW THE PROGRESS OF THIS EVENT ON THE IPS SPACE WEATHER STATUS PANEL,
HTTP://WWW.IPS.GOV.AU > SPACE WEATHER

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Astrophiz Podcast 30 is Out

Astrophiz Podcast 30 is out now.

Our feature interview is with Dr Elizabeth Tasker who gives a reality check to the claims that ‘7 earth-like planets' have been found around TRAPPIST-1, a small star about 40 light years away, and in her most recent paper, calls for a more accurate definition of our use of the term ‘habitability'.

Elizabeth is a British astrophysicist who works at JAXA, the Institute of Space and Astronomical Science, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

I tell you what to look for in the night and morning skies over the next few weeks.

In the news:
1. The Explosive beginnings of a supernova spotted for the first time (via Amy Middleton reporting for cosmosmagazine) and she writes about a new paper in Nature Physics about the spectacular transformation of a star, assumed to have been a red supergiant, into a supernova, just three hours after it began.

2. The unexpected discovery of young stars in old star clusters may send scientists back to the drawing board and change our understanding of how stars evolve (via Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, posted in phys.org/astronomy)

3. A White Dwarf star X9, is the closest star ever found orbiting a black hole, and it’s orbiting at an astonishing 12 million km/h. The stellar dance between these two objects is taking place inside a globular cluster 47 Tucanae, a group of about a million stars orbiting the galactic centre about 15,000 light years from Earth. (reported by Marcus Strom for the Sydney Morning Herald)

Next episode: Dark Matter with Dr Elisabetta Barberio (out on 6 April)

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The Sky This Week - Thursday March 30 to Thursday April 6

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday April 4. Daylight savings ends Sunday April 2.Mars is low in the twilight. The Thin crescent Moon is inside the head of Taurus the Bull on the 1st. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are close in the late evening skies, with Jupiter close to opposition. Saturn is high in the morning sky.

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday April 4. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 30th.

Evening sky on Saturday April 1 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:05 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon, the thin crescent Moon is in the head of Taurus the Bull, just below Aldebaran.

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

Mercury is low the evening twilight, but is difficult to see, you will need a clear, unobscured level horizon (like the ocean) to see it.

Mars is in the western evening skies in Aires. It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight. Nearby, the thin crescent Moon is in the head of Taurus the Bull, just below Aldebaran.

Evening sky on Saturday April 1 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACDST.  Jupiter is above the horizon close to the bright star Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time with Io and its shadow transiting Jupiter's face. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising at dusk and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the evening this week. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo.

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, is next week. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 10 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Wed 29 Mar 20:30 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 30 Mar 4:15 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 30 Mar 6:26 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 30 Mar 6:40 Io : Reappears from Occultation
Thu 30 Mar 21:28 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Thu 30 Mar 21:49 Eur: Transit Ends
Fri 31 Mar 1:35 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Fri 31 Mar 1:48 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Fri 31 Mar 2:17 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 31 Mar 3:47 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Fri 31 Mar 3:58 Io : Transit Ends
Fri 31 Mar 22:08 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 31 Mar 22:44 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Sat 1 Apr 1:29 Gan: Transit Begins               ST
Sat 1 Apr 2:59 Gan: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Sat 1 Apr 3:27 Gan: Transit Ends
Sat 1 Apr 19:04 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Sat 1 Apr 19:14 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Sat 1 Apr 21:15 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Sat 1 Apr 21:24 Io : Transit Ends
Sun 2 Apr 2:55 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 2 Apr 22:46 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 3 Apr 18:37 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 4 Apr 4:33 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 5 Apr 0:24 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 5 Apr 2:20 Eur: Disappears into Eclipse
Wed 5 Apr 4:53 Eur: Reappears from Occultation
Wed 5 Apr 20:15 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 6 Apr 5:10 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 6 Apr 6:11 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 6 Apr 20:36 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        S
Thu 6 Apr 20:43 Eur: Transit Begins               ST
Thu 6 Apr 23:04 Eur: Sh Ends & Tr Ends 

Morning  sky on Saturday April 1 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 6:04 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Saturn is high above the 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 (90 minutes before sunrise). (click to embiggen).

 Saturn rises higher in darker morning skies this week. Saturn is now high enough above north-eastern horizon to see easily and is now a good telescopic target. It continues to climb into darker skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula. With the Moon waning this is now an attractive view again..

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

Venus  returns to the morning sky, but is too low in the twilight this week for good observation.


There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

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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Monday, March 27, 2017

 

Help in the Hunt for Planet 9!

Recent research has suggested the weird orbit of the icy worlds Sedna and six others could be explained if there is a Neptune sized object lurking at the very fringes of the solar system. This would be an amazing find. Unlike the discovery of Neptune however, where Neptune was found within one degree of its predicted location, the location of the putative Planet 9 is poorly constrained. Hunting for it involves searching through many, many images looking for tiny dots that move.

Now you can be involved in the hunt! ANU astronomers have set up a citizen science page where you can help in the hunt for Planet 9. It involves watching a lot of tiny dots bounce about, but you could discover a new world!

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Geomagnetic Warning and Aurora in NZ and Australia NOW (27-28 March)

Hobart K-Index plot diagramThe  Australian Space Weather Service (SWS ) has issued a Geomagnetic Warning  for 27-28 March UT from a high speed solar wind stream from a large coronal hole with active to minor storm activity predicted. However, the indices are favorable now (Velocity: 540 km/sec Bz: -10.0 nT Density = 13.0 p/cc but current Kindex is 4) and good unaided eye Aurora are being reported from Southland New Zealand as of twenty minutes ago, Queenstown NZ, multiple back of camera reports from Tasmania and one apparent uniaded eye sighting from southern Victoria.

Skies are dark virtually all night long.  Aurora may be continue to be seen in Tasmania and Victoria if conditions persist (possibly even further north). G2 storm conditions have been predicted, most probably around early evening on the 28th, but with the disturbances arriving early keep an eye out this evening tomorrow morning. However, conditions are expected to fluctuate rapidly through the evening so there may be several bursts of short lived aurora.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences".

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

The all sky aurora camera in Northern Tasmania at Cressy is being upgraded and is not yet online.

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 17/15
ISSUED AT 2342UT/25 MARCH 2017
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

A negative polarity recurrent coronal hole is expected to take
a geoeffective position around the late hours on 27 March (UT
day). Geomagnetic activity may rise to active levels with some
possibility of minor storm periods late on 27 March. Geomagnetic
activity is expected to stay high at active to minor storm levels
on 28 March.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL HOLE HIGH SPEED WIND STREAM
FROM 27-28 MARCH 2017
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
27 Mar:  Quiet active, isolated minor storm periods possible
28 Mar:  Active to minor storm

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

 

Aurora happening NOW! (11 pm 22 March)

Despite all the indices being ordinary, camera visible aurora have been seen in Avoca Victoria and unaided eye visible through cloud in northern Tasmania. If conditions hold this may be an excellent auroral event. However, conditions are expected to fluctuate rapidly through the evening so there may be several bursts of short lived aurora. The waning Moon will rise after 1 am so should not interfere too much with aurora visibility.  .

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences".

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday March 23 to Thursday March 30

The New Moon is Tuesday March 28. Mercury is very low in the twilight glow and is visited by the Moon on the 29th. Mars is low in the twilight and is visited by the Moon on the 30th. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are close in the late evening skies. Saturn is high in the morning sky.

The New Moon is Tuesday March 28.The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 30th.



Evening sky on Wednesday March 29 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:45 ACDST (35 minutes after sunset). Mercury is low above the horizon and close to the thin crescent Moon.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 35 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Venus  is now lost in the twilight.



Mercury returns to the evening twilight, but is difficult to see. On the 29t the tine crescent Moon is close to Mercury, but you will need a clear, unobscured level horizon (like the ocean) to see it.

Evening sky on Thursday March 30 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:08 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon, not far from the thin crescent Moon.

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

Mars is in the western evening skies in  Pisces. It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight.

Evening sky on Friday March 24 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:50 ACDST.  Jupiter is now well above the horizon close to the bright star Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time with Ganymede and its shadow transiting Jupiter's face, and Io reappearing from occultation. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising well before midnight and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the evening this week. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo.

Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 11 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEDST.


Thu 23 Mar 2:21 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 23 Mar 4:56 Io : Reappears from Occultation
Thu 23 Mar 5:41 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 23 Mar 23:42 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Fri 24 Mar 0:04 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Fri 24 Mar 1:32 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 24 Mar 1:53 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Fri 24 Mar 2:14 Io : Transit Ends
Fri 24 Mar 20:50 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Fri 24 Mar 21:23 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 24 Mar 21:35 Gan: Shadow Transit Begins        S
Fri 24 Mar 23:12 Gan: Transit Begins               ST
Fri 24 Mar 23:22 Io : Reappears from Occultation   ST
Sat 25 Mar 0:02 Gan: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Sat 25 Mar 1:09 Gan: Transit Ends
Sat 25 Mar 7:19 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 25 Mar 20:22 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Sat 25 Mar 20:40 Io : Transit Ends
Sun 26 Mar 3:10 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 26 Mar 23:01 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 27 Mar 5:41 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        S
Mon 27 Mar 6:20 Eur: Transit Begins               ST
Tue 28 Mar 4:48 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 29 Mar 0:39 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 29 Mar 0:46 Eur: Disappears into Eclipse
Wed 29 Mar 3:39 Eur: Reappears from Occultation
Wed 29 Mar 7:07 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Wed 29 Mar 7:22 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Wed 29 Mar 20:30 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 30 Mar 4:15 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 30 Mar 6:26 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 30 Mar 6:40 Io : Reappears from Occultation
Thu 30 Mar 21:28 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Thu 30 Mar 21:49 Eur: Transit Ends

Morning  sky on Saturday March 25 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:58 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Saturn is high above the 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 (90 minutes before sunrise). (click to embiggen).

 Saturn rises higher in darker morning skies this week. Saturn is now high enough above north-eastern horizon to see easily and is now a good telescopic target. It continues to climb into darker skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula. With the Moon waning this is now an attractive view again..

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


There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

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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Geomagnetic Warning (22-23 March)

The  Australian Space Weather Service (SWS ) has issued a Geomagnetic Warning for 22-23 March UT from a high speed solar wind stream from a large coronal hole. Morning skies have the waning Moon visible from just after midnight. This will not interfere too much with aurora visibility.  It is possible aurora may be seen in Tasmania and Victoria if storms eventuate. G1 storm conditions have been predicted, most probably around midnight but we have been surprised with early evening aurora before (See also NOAA).  However, conditions are expected to fluctuate rapidly through the evening so there may be several bursts of short lived aurora.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences".

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

The all sky aurora camera in Northern Tasmania at Cressy is being upgraded and is not yet online.

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 17/12
ISSUED AT 2335UT/20 MARCH 2017
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

The effect of a high speed solar wind stream from a positive
polarity recurrent coronal hole is expected to raise geomagnetic
activity to active levels on 22 March with some possibility of
isolated minor storm periods on this day. Geomagnetic activity
is then expected to remain enhanced to 'active to minor storm'
levels on 23 March.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL HOLE HIGH SPEED WIND STREAM
FROM 22-23 MARCH 2017
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
22 Mar:  Unsettled to Active
23 Mar:  Unsettled to minor storm

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

 

Two ISS passes (14 and 16 March 2017)

The ISS passing just below the Southern Cross on 14 March, 2017 before heading into earth's shadow. Stack of 9 images in Deep Sky Stacker (5 second exposures 400 ASA)The ISS passing just aboveCanopus on 16 March, 2017. The ISS was around magnitude -3.4 (almost as bright as Venus) Stack of 9 images in Deep Sky Stacker (5 second exposures 400 ASA)
Animation of above imagesAnimation of above images

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A Series of Bright ISS passes (16-20 March, 2017)

The ISS passes almost over Procyon, as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Friday 17 March at 20:25 AEDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes between Sirius and Canopus, as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Thursday 16 March at 20:46 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes through the False Cross, as seen from Perth on the evening of Thursday 16 March at 19:50 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 Friday 17 March for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Thursday 16 March for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Thursday 16 March for Perth.

Starting tonight there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting around five days. Many are low to the horizon, but for many places in Australia this series has the ISS gliding either throughthe Southern cross, coming close to bright stars or distinctive constellations such as Orion. Some of the passes are very short although bright as the ISS enters Earth's shadow.The est and brightest of the passes occur during a period from 16-18 March, favouring the east coast.

Most of the major cites see the ISS pass almost at the zenith and  close to bright stars in the evening at the following days and times:
Adelaide 16th 20:46 ACDST (best), 18th 20:38 ACDST;
Brisbane 17th 19:24 AEST; 18th 18:35 AEST; 20th 18:27 AEST
Sydney 17th 20:27 AEDST, 18th 19:34 AEDST;
Melbourne 16th 21:14 AEDST; 17th 20:25 AEDST (best)
Perth 16th 19:50 AWST; 17th 18:54 AWST; 18th 18:38 AWST;
Hobart 17th 20:24 AEDST

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 Procyon or missing it completely.
 
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.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday March 16 to Thursday March 23

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday March 21. Earth is at equinox on the 20th. Mars is low in the twilight. There is a series of bright ISS passes this week. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are close in the late evening skies. Saturn is high in the morning sky with the last quarter Moon below it on the 21st.

The Last Quarter Moon is Tuesday March 21.The Moon is at apogee, when it is futrhest from the AErth, on the 19th. Earth is at equinox, when night and day are approximately equal, on the 20th.

Evening sky on Saturday March 18 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:25 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon.

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

Venus  is now lost in the twilight.



Mars is in the western evening skies in  Pisces. It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight.


The ISS passes almost over Procyon, as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Friday 17 March at 20:25 AEDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.

Starting on the 16th there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting around five days. Many are low to the horizon, but for many places in Australia this series has the ISS gliding either through the Southern cross, coming close to bright stars or distinctive constellations such as Orion. Some of the passes are very short although bright as the ISS enters Earth's shadow.The best and brightest of the passes occur during a period from 16-18 March, favouring the east coast.  For more details see this page.

 Late evening sky on Saturday March 18 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 ACDST.  Jupiter is now well 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. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising well before midnight and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the late evening this week. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo.
Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around midnight on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEDST.


Thu 16 Mar 0:28 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 16 Mar 3:11 Io : Reappears from Occultation
Thu 16 Mar 4:56 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 16 Mar 21:48 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Thu 16 Mar 22:20 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Fri 17 Mar 0:00 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Fri 17 Mar 0:30 Io : Transit Ends
Fri 17 Mar 0:47 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 17 Mar 21:37 Io : Reappears from Occultation   T
Fri 17 Mar 21:49 Gan: Transit Ends
Sat 18 Mar 6:34 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 19 Mar 2:25 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 19 Mar 22:16 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 20 Mar 3:06 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        S
Mon 20 Mar 4:04 Eur: Transit Begins               ST
Mon 20 Mar 5:34 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends          T
Mon 20 Mar 6:24 Eur: Transit Ends
Tue 21 Mar 4:03 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 21 Mar 22:12 Eur: Disappears into Eclipse
Tue 21 Mar 23:54 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 22 Mar 1:24 Eur: Reappears from Occultation
Wed 22 Mar 5:13 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S
Wed 22 Mar 5:38 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Wed 22 Mar 7:25 Io : Shadow Transit Ends          T
Thu 23 Mar 2:21 Io : Disappears into Eclipse
Thu 23 Mar 4:56 Io : Reappears from Occultation
Thu 23 Mar 5:41 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 23 Mar 23:42 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        S

Morning  sky on Tuesday March 21 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:52 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Saturn is high above the horizon and the waning Moon is just below it.

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 before sunrise). (click to embiggen).

 Saturn rises higher in darker morning skies this week. Saturn is now high enough above eastern horizon to see easily and is now a good telescopic target. It continues to climb into darker skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula, however, the proximity of the waning Moon, closest on the 21st, makes viwing these nebular difficult.

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

Mercury is  lost in the twilight.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

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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Friday, March 10, 2017

 

Southern Skywatch March, 2017 edition is now out!

Late evening sky on Tuesday March 14 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 ACDST.  Jupiter is now well above the horizon close to the bright star Spica.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at 23:00 pm as Europa is about reappear from occultation. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

The March edition of Southern Skywatch is  up (still late again, sorry, but better).

This month starts with Venus and Mars lined up close in the evening sky, Venus is rapidly lost to view though.

 Jupiter climbs higher in the evening sky, and is less than a hand-span from the bright star Spica for this month. On the 14th it is not far from the Moon.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky during the month. On the 21st it is close to the waning Moon.

Mercury returns to the evening sky late in the month, but will be hard to see.

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Astrophiz Podcast 29 is Out

Astrophiz Podcast 29 is out now.

Our feature interview is with Dr Ángel López-Sánchez, who is originally from the beautiful city of Córdoba in Spain, and now with the Australian Astronomical Observatory and Department of Physics and Astronomy of Macquarie University, Sydney.

He researches galaxies with star-formation activity, and even the features of the very massive Wolf-Rayet stars are detected sometimes.

He was the first Spanish astronomer to host an astronomy blog. It is fantastic, and our listeners can find it easily just by googling ‘the lined wolf’. It comes up as number one in search results (in Spanish and in English). Ángel is passionate about outreach and amateur astronomy.

In ‘What’s up Doc?’I tells you what to look for in the night sky this week using naked eye, binoculars or telescopes. This week, Jupiter and Saturn, and a chance encounter with a comet.

In the News:
1. ‘Big Data’ Updating the supercomputing that is evolving from the SKA, (the Square Kilometre Array is based in Murchison West Australia and South Africa, with headquarters at Jodrell Bank UK)
2. Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) hit mainstream astronomy after their original discovery using 2001 pulsar data from Parkes 'The Dish' Radio Telescope

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