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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 July 2015

   Rising about ninety minutes before the Sun at the beginning of July, Mercury will only be observable early in the month as it heads toward superior conjunction with the Sun on the 24th. After conjunction with the Sun it moves once again into the western evening twilight sky but be hidden in the glare of the Sun until early next month.

 This brilliant pair begin the month less than half a degree apart in the western evening sky and should be visible together in the eyepiece of any reasonable telescope on the evening of the 1st of the month. They immediately separate however and by the end of the month are almost 6.5 degrees apart. The brighter of the two, Venus passes three degrees to the south of Leo's brightest star, Regulus on the 19th where it is joined by a thin crescent waxing Moon. The same waxing Moon sits six degrees to the west of Jupiter on the 18th of the month. Worth noting for the asteroid buffs, the 10.8 magnitude 3 Juno will be 70 arc minutes to the south of Magnitude 1.4 Regulus on the 2nd.
  The red planet has re-entered the morning sky after conjunction with the Sun on the 15th of last month but will be hidden in the early morning twilight until next month.

   Just out of the reach of the jaws of the scorpion, Saturn sits safely on the scales of Libra as it continues its retrograde loop against the background stars. High in the north eastern sky after the Sun has set and in an ideal spot for observation, the ringed planet is an awe inspiring sight even in small telescopes. Its large moon Titan, the second largest moon in the solar system, can be easily made out and with larger instruments a few of its other satellites can be spotted. On the 26th the waxing gibbous Moon will be less than three degrees to the north of Saturn.

2nd 9th 16th 24th 31st

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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.

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