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Tuesday, December 05, 2017


The Sky This Week - Thursday December 7 to Thursday December 14

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday, December 10. Mercury and Saturn are lost in the  twilight.  Mars is relatively easy to see and  is close to the thing crescent Moon on the 14th .Jupiter is now prominent in the morning sky and is heading towards the bright star alpha2 Librae. The Geminid meteor shower peaks on the morning of the 14th.

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday, December 10.

Evening sky on Saturday December 9 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:50 ACDST  (30 minutes after sunset). Mercury is low above the horizon and is close to  Saturn.

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

Mercury is barely visible in early  twilight. You will need a low flat unobstructed horizon to see it. Mercury is below Saturn and this will be the last week to see them.

Saturn is visible low in the early evening twilight above Mercury and is lost to view by mid week.

Morning sky on  Thursday December 14 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 4:50 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter is prominent and Mars can be seen close to the crescent Moon, between the bright star Spica and Jupiter.

 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 twilight and is now becoming prominent.

 Mars is climbing higher the twilight, and is is coming closer to the bright star spica. The pair are closest on the 30th.

Geminids as seen from Brisbane facing north at 2:00 am AEST. The Geminid radiant is marked with a starburst . (similar views from elsewhere at equivalent local time eg Sydney 3:00 am AEDST, Adelaide 3:30 am).
Similar views will be seen elsewhere at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).

The Geminids are a fairly reliable meteor and this will be a good year for them with little moon interference.

The radiant doesn't rise until just before midnight (daylight saving time) in most of Australia, so you will still have to disturb your sleep for this one. Australians should see a meteor every two to three minutes under dark skies in the early morning of the 14th, between 1:00 am and 4:00 am local time. The further north you are the better the meteor rates. You can find predictions for your local site at the meteor flux estimator (choose 4 Geminids and date 13-14 December, don't forget to change the year to 2017).

You can find more details on my Geminid page.

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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