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-  Proprietor  -
John Vetter
* Amateur Astronomer with
 over 40 years experience.

-  Address  -
961 Old Grattai Road
Mudgee NSW 2850

-  Phone  -
(02) 6373 3431

-  Email  


ICON LEGEND

1st Quarter
Full Moon
3rd Quarter
New Moon

 

 


The Planets for April 2015

   Lost in the glare of the Sun for most of the month but you may be lucky to catch a glimpse of it in the western evening twilight on the last days of the month. It will then setting less than an hour later than the Sun within 2 degrees of the Pleiades star cluster.

 Very prominent in the western evening sky after the Sun has set and by the 17th of April will be setting a full two hours later than the Sun. It crosses from Aries into Taurus on the 7th where on the 11th the brightest planet sits 2.5 degrees to the south of the Pleiades star cluster. The waxing crescent Moon will be in the neighborhood of Venus on the 21st and 22nd of the month with the Hyades star cluster adding to the scene. The last day of the month finds "The Evening Star" just over 2 degrees to the south of beta Tauri, (El Nath, the butting one) a 1.7 magnitude blue giant that lies at a distance of 140 light years from the Sun.
 
  Low in the western evening twilight and with an angular diameter of less than 4 arc minutes, Mars is not worth the trouble this month and will be out of contention now until next August.

Among the faint stars of Cancer and 5 degrees to the east of the Beehive star cluster, Jupiter is in a great position for observation after the Sun sets in April. On the 9th the giant planet comes to the end of its retrograde loop and appears to move eastward again against the background stars. The first quarter Moon lies 5 degrees to the south of Jupiter on the 26th.

  The magnificent ringed planet rises around 8:30pm at the beginning of the month and by the end of the month almost two hours earlier. Situated among the stars marking the Scorpion's claws, Saturn is easily identified by its distinct golden glow. Because of its retrograde motion at the moment if you observe it closely over the month you will notice a 1.5 degrees shift to the west in relation to the background stars. The waning gibbous Moon and Saturn are less than 3 degrees apart on the 8th of the month.

4th 12th 19th 26th

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The Planets for May 2015

   This tiny inner world makes only a brief appearance in the western evening twilight sky this month. Even at its greatest elongation from the Sun on the 7th it will set barely one hour later than the Sun before making its way back toward the Sun for inferior conjunction on the 30th of the month. The very thin wafer of the one day old waxing crescent Moon sits 5 degrees to the south of Mercury on the 19th and may be a bit of a challenge to observe.

 Perched directly between the stars marking the tips of the horns of Taurus the bull as May begins, Venus is unmistakable in the western evening sky after sunset. The planet will be by far the brightest object in that part of the sky until it is joined by the Moon later in the month. It moves swiftly eastward in relation to the background stars crossing into Gemini on the 9th where it is joined by a waxing crescent Moon on the 21st and 22nd of the month. By the end of the month Venus will have moved to within 5 degrees of Pollux, the brightest star in Gemini which is an orange giant lying at a distance of 36 light years from the Sun. In 2006 astronomers discovered a planet orbiting Pollux with a mass twice that of Jupiter and orbiting the star once every 590 days.
 
  Too close to the Sun to be observed until it returns to the morning sky in August.

Well past the meridian after the Sun has set at the beginning of May, Jupiter still resides among the faith stars of Cancer the crab. It will be joined by the waxing crescent Moon on the 24th and for those who like a challenge, on the same evening the asteroid 10.4 magnitude 3 Juno sits 1 degree to the north west of the Moon and 3.5 degrees to the south of Jupiter.

 
This is an ideal month to observe the ringed planet as it will be in the sky all night long, rising at 6.30pm at the beginning of the month and coming to opposition on the 23rd. Because of its retrograde motion at the moment it moves westward against the background stars, crossing from Scorpius into Libra on the 13th of the month. An almost full Moon sits 3 degrees to the north of Saturn on the 5th of the month.

4th 11th 18th 26th

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The Planets for June 2015

   This elusive little planet ascends out of the early morning twilight in the constellation of Taurus-The Bull, moving further from the Sun as the month progresses. It will be at its greatest elongation west of the Sun on the 25th when it will rise almost two hours before the Sun after which it begins its journey back toward the Sun. On the 24th it lies two degrees to the north of Aldebaran, Taurus' brightest star which marks the angry red eye of the bull. This star is one of the nearest red giants to the Sun at a distance of 29 light years and although it appears to be part of the V shaped Hyades star it is in fact an unrelated foreground star. The waning crescent Moon is within two degrees of Mercury on the 15th of the month.

 High in the western evening sky after sunset among the stars of Gemini and easily dominating that part of the heavens. On the 2nd it will form a straight line with Gemini's two brightest stars, Caster and Pollux before crossing into Cancer on the 4th and into Leo on the 26th of the month. The last day of June sees Venus situated less than one degree from the Giant planet, Jupiter. The thin waxing crescent Moon will be five degrees to the south of Venus on the 20th of the Month.
 
  On the opposite side of the Sun on the 15th and too close to the Sun for observation until August.

Moving eastward against the background stars of Cancer-The crab until the 11th when it will cross into Leo. Make an effort to view the planet early in the evening as Jupiter will set around 10:00pm at the beginning of the month and by month's end will be set by 8:30pm. Be sure to check out the early evening western sky on the 20th when the four day old waxing crescent Moon will be in the vicinity of both Jupiter and the brighter Venus. By the end of the month Venus will have moved to within one degree of Jupiter.

 
The ringed planet rises at 4:30pm at the start of the month and so will be quite high in the eastern evening sky after the sun has set. Now situated among the stars of Libra where on the 1st and again on the 29th of the month it is joined by the waxing gibbous Moon. Early in the evening of June the 1st the Moon will occult the 3.9 magnitude gamma Librae (Zubenelakrab, the scorpions claw). From the location of Sydney the star will disappear at 6:31pm EST and reappear at 7:27pm EST.

3rd 10th 16th 24th

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