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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  


1st Quarter
Full Moon
3rd Quarter
New Moon



The Planets for August 2015

   The inner planet sets just forty minutes later than the Sun at the beginning of August but by the end of the month will not set for a full two hours after the Sun. On the 7th it will pass less than one degree to the north of Jupiter with Leo's brightest star Regulus only one degree to the south east, forming a tight triangle low in the western evening twilight. The brightest planet, Venus lies eight degrees to the south west of the trio. The thin crescent of the two day old Moon hovers just above Mercury on the evening of the 16th of the Month.

 Low in the western evening twilight at the beginning of August, Venus reveals itself as a thin crescent in the telescope. However make the most of the first few days of the month as on the 16th Venus will be in conjunction with the Sun and moving into the early morning sky. By the end of the month it will be rising 90 minutes before the Sun among the faint stars of Cancer-The Crab.
  Because of the sharp angle of the ecliptic, the red planet will be lurking in the early morning twilight for most of the month and fairly hard to spot. The thin crescent of the waning Moon will rise thirty minutes before Mars on the 13th and a week later on the 21st and 22nd of the month Mars will cross the face of the Beehive star cluster in Cancer.

In conjunction with the Sun on the 27th of the month but still visible in the early evening twilight early in the month. Passing half a degree to the north of Mercury on the 7th, forming a neat triangle with Mercury Leo's brightest star Regulus on the 8th and within half a degree of Regulus on the 12th of the month. The giant planet moves into the morning sky after the 27th but hard to spot until at least the middle of next month.

  The ringed planet rises around mid-day at the beginning of August and so by nightfall is high in the north eastern sky and easy to observe. On the 3rd the planet comes to the end of its retrograde loop and again begins to move from west to east in relation to the background stars. This motion will take it from Libra into Scorpius in mid October. The angle formed by the Earth, Sun and Saturn will be 90 degrees on the 22nd and it is at this point that a greater amount of the planet's shadow falls upon the rings promoting a 3-D effect. The waxing Moon will be below and to the west of Saturn on the 22nd and the next evening the first quarter Moon will me below and to the east of the planet.

7th 15th 23rd 30th

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The Planets for September 2015

   The innermost planet is fairly easy to spot in the western evening sky after the Sun has set early in September. It remains in Virgo for the entire month, making its nearest approach to Spica, Virgo's brightest star on the 17th when the pair will be less than nine degrees apart. Spica is a blue-white star 260 light years away and will show a small colour contrast against Mercury's slight orange tinge. Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the Sun on the 4th after which it begins its journey back toward the Sun and inferior conjunction on the 1st of October. A five percent lit waxing Moon will set just before Mercury on the 15th of September.

 The "Morning Star" rises ninety minutes before the Sun as September begins but by month's end will cross the eastern horizon just over two hours before the Sun. It begins the month in the constellation of Cancer-The Crab crossing into Leo on the 25th and ending the month eight degrees to the west of Leo's brightest star, Regulus. A waning crescent Moon lies six degrees from Venus on the 10th of September.

  Probably not the best month to observe Mars as the sharp angle of the ecliptic to the eastern horizon this month keeps it is partially hidden in the early morning twilight for most of the month. It starts the month among the stars of Cancer, moving into Leo on the 7th where it is joined by the waning crescent Moon on the 11th of the month. On the 25th it will pass less than one degree to the north of Leo's brightest star Regulus, a Magnitude 1.4 blue-white star which lies at a distance of 85 light years. It has a 7.6 magnitude companion visible in binoculars or a small telescope. The colour contrast between Regulus and Mars is worth noting, Mars with its distinctive ruddy colour against the brilliant blue-white of Regulus.

Again an early morning object but because of its proximity to the Sun wait until next month to attempt any serious observations of this planet.

The ringed planet can be found high in the north-western sky in the constellation of Libra after the Sun has set at the beginning of September. This puts it in an ideal position for observation early in the evening for most of the month. By the end of the month however Saturn will be setting around 10:00 pm so make the most of it this month. On the 18th the waxing crescent Moon will be 3 degrees to the north of the planet and on the 20th the 10.8 magnitude comet 10P/Temple 2 will be 2.3 degrees to the south of Saturn putting on one of its 5.4 yearly appearances.

5th 13th 21st 28th

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The Planets for October 2015

   This is not a good month to observe the innermost planet. It begins the month between the Earth and the Sun reaching its greatest angular distance from the Sun on the 16th. Even on this date it will rise only 41 minutes earlier than the Sun and hard to spot in the early morning twilight. It then moves swiftly back toward the Sun for superior conjunction on the 18th of next month.

 Easy to spot in the early morning sky and rising over two hours before the Sun as the month begins, Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the Sun on the 26th of October. The Moon will pass between the Earth and Venus on the morning of the 9th of the month and will be visible from the eastern and central states of Australia. From the location of Sydney the occultation begins at 4:31am EST and ends at 5:54am EST. The planet will disappear under the bright side of the Moon and reappear from the dark side over an hour later. Venus and Jupiter will be one degree apart on the 26th and on the 31st the "Morning Star" sits within two degree of the planet Mars.

  The Red Planet begins the month in the constellation Leo and four degrees to the east of Leo's brightest star, Regulus. It will rise at 4:15am EST on the 1st of the month and by month's end will be rising 3:08am EST. On the 18th Mars is less than half a degree from Jupiter and on last day of the month Mars lies less than two degrees to the east of the brightest planet Venus. The waning crescent Moon pays Mars a visit on the 10th of the month.

Also in the early morning sky the giant planet Jupiter rises just over an hour before the Sun early in the month and two hours before the Sun by the end of the month. It lies two degrees to the north of the Moon on the 10th and one degree to the north of Venus on the 26th.

The ringed planet is located high in the north western sky after sundown early in the month. Situated in the constellation Libra until the 17th when it crosses back into Scorpio. On the 16th the waxing crescent Moon sits just below the planet and from the 25th to the 27th Saturn lies just 41 arc minutes from beta Scorpii, Graffias. This is a brilliant double star comprised of blue white stars of magnitudes 2.6 and 4.9 at a distance of 550 light years.

5th 13th 21st 27th

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