Riding on Elon Musk’s muscle power earthlings are preparing to invade the Moon again. There they will find that some of its craters have been renamed to honour the Apollo 8 mission, the first to orbit our natural satellite 50 years ago. Venus is hailed by the Parker Solar probe that swings by it, Jupiter’s Moon Europa has 15 meters ice spikes on the surface and Saturn’s rings are not just water nor all the lost airline luggage. Mars has to resign to the idea that earthlings have figured out how to grow plants on it. Not even perchlorates can stop them. And last but not least, New Horizons is unstoppable going towards Ultima Thule.
It’s the Winter of the Planets and in the early evening this week you can see Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Then there is the Lunar Eclipse on Saturday morning as well.
The night sky this week is still all about the planets but if you’re quick, you can still spot some deep sky objects before the Moon gets too bright.
A great week for deep sky observing, why not try and see if you can Barnard’s Galaxy or the Saturn Nebula.
When observing the planets in astronomy it can be quite surprising to see the different sizes that appear in the eyepiece and how this can change over time.
The Winter of planets continues with Jupiter, Saturn and Mars all at fantastic high positions over the week. Venus is also getting a bit higher out of the distorted atmosphere near the horizon.
We had a great time showing heaps of students Jupiter and Saturn during a talk about Matariki at Government House.
Now that your telescope is all ready, take it outside and start viewing the night sky.
New Horizons will make its next encounter on 1 January next year as it approaches the Kuiper Belt Object Ultima Thule, formerly known as 2014 MU69.
The night sky this week is a great opportunity to get your binoculars and telescopes out to see the fantastic nebulae that sit between Scorpius and Sagittarius.
The night sky this week has a few treats including the asteroid Vesta, Mars and the Moon getting close, Jupiter’s moons crossing the planet and the fantastic nebulae in Sagittarius showing off.
The night sky this week will be dominated by the Moon, so it’s a good time to get out and appreciate the planets that are getting into a more favourable position for viewing.
NASA launched Juno to look at Jupiter in 2011 and since 2016 it has been sending back fantastic images of the Solar System’s biggest planet.
Space exploration drives a lot of technological development that has spinoffs for Earth-bound applications.
A short video of some highlights of the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere from 11 May 2018.
The night sky this week will see the reappearance of the Moon and the Planets will be in a more favourable position for viewing.
It looks like NASA is going to get a good amount of funding in a bill set to fly through the US Congress and Senate. This is great news for programmes such as Europa Clipper that have dependencies on the SLS programme.
The night sky this week is looking great to view a few of the brightest galaxies in the Southern Sky. It’s also going to be awesome to get some views of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
This week, the night sky is dominated by the lunar eclipse in the early morning of 1 February. There’s also some great clusters to check out while you’re enjoying the show from the Moon.
The next week is going to be overshadowed by the Moon a bit so it’s the perfect opportunity to do some Moon observing. There’s also a good chance to spot some interesting globular clusters.
Next week, Mars and Jupiter are better positioned in the early morning, before dawn, to get some good views and it might be the last chance to see Mercury for a while. With the moon taking a break the opportunity exists for some great views of some of the more fainter objects.