NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org
NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org

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This Weekend's Night Sky

18-20 April 2014

The Moon is past full and will rise later and later each evening. 

Sirius is 8.7 light years away and 26 times brighter than our Sun. Below is Procyon, the 8th brightest star in our night sky. It is 11.5 light years away and 7 times brighter than our Sun. 

Orion is lying on his side in the north-west after sunset and sets by midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line that is almost vertical. Rigel, one of Orion’s feet, is to the left, and the red star Betelgeuse, marks one of his shoulders is to the right.

Below and to the right of Betelgeuse is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is the brightest object in our evening sky. 

Mars is now high in the east after sunset and Saturn can be seen in the north east as a yellow ‘star’.

Scorpius is above the horizon in the south-east after sunset and will be overhead before sunrise. The red star, Antares, marks the Scorpion's heart. To Maori, it is Rehua, meaning the ‘fiery one’ due to its colour resembling that of an ember. 

In the south are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross, higher up are the Diamond and False Crosses. They all sit in, or beside, the Milky Way. 

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises in the east around 4:00 am and begins to get dimmer as it moves further away from the Earth; it will also move towards our eastern horizon rising later each morning.


12-13 April 2014

The Moon will be visible throughout the evening as it moves towards Full Moon on Tuesday night.  On this night the Moon will move through the Earth’s shadow and we will be treated to the spectacle of a Total Lunar Eclipse!

Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, is now descending in the west as our summer constellations slide towards the horizon. Sirius marks the front of Canis Major, the large dog. To Maori it is known as 'Takarua' and is known as the 'winter star'.

Below is Canis Minor. This constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon, which is 11.5 light years away and 7 times brighter than our Sun.

Orion is lying on in his side in the north-west after sunset and will set by midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line that is almost vertical. Rigel which is one of Orion’s feet is to the left and the red star Betelgeuse which marks one of his shoulders is to the right.

Below and to the right of Betelgeuse is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently, after the Moon, the brightest object in our evening sky. Jupiter is sitting in front of the stars that form the constellation of Gemini, the Twins.

Mars is climbs higher in the east during twilight sunset and is followed by Saturn. On 14th April, Mars will be at its closet to Earth for 2014.

Scorpius rises in the south-east after sunset and is well above the horizon by midnight. Saturn neighbours this constellation just to the left.

In the south, and climbing higher, are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross and higher up the Diamond and False Crosses. They all sit in, or beside, the Milky Way.

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises in the east around 4:00 am and is beginning to get dimmer as it moves further away from the Earth. It will also move towards our eastern horizon rising later each morning.


5-6 April 2014

First Quarter Moon is on the 7th and will be visible during this weekend in the west after sunset.

Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, is now descending in the west as our summer constellations slide towards the horizon. Sirius marks the front of Canis Major, the large dog. To Maori it is known as 'Takarua' and is known as the 'winter star'.

Below is Canis Minor; this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon which is 11.5 light years away and 7 times brighter than our Sun.

Orion is lying on his side in the north-west after sunset and sets by midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line that is almost vertical. Rigel which is one of Orion’s feet is to the left and the red star Betelgeuse, which marks one of his shoulders, is to the right.

Below and to the right of Betelgeuse is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently, after the Moon, the brightest object in our evening sky. Jupiter is sitting in front of the stars that form the constellation of Gemini, the Twins.

Mars is climbing higher in the east during twilight sunset and is followed by Saturn. Mars is at its brightest on 8th April, and on this date it will be at its closet to Earth for 2014.

Scorpius rises in the south-east after sunset and is well above the horizon.

In the south, and climbing higher, are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross and higher up are the Diamond and False Crosses. They all sit in, or beside, the Milky Way.

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises in the east around 3:30am and this weekend will be your last chance to catch Mercury in the predawn sky.


29-30 March 2014

New is Moon is on the 1st so we should have dark skies throughout the weekend.

Jupiter is due north after sunset and will be the brightest ‘star’ in the night sky. If you have binoculars you should be able to see up to four of its moons.

Rising in the east around 10:30 is Mars, which will appear as red ‘star’, and an hour later Saturn will also rise appearing as a yellow ‘star’.

The brightest star in our night sky is Sirius marking the front of Canis Major, the large dog. To Maori it is known as 'Takarua'.

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon, which is 11.5 light years away.

Orion is in the north-west after sunset and is beginning to set around midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line. Above is Rigel, which is one of Orion’s feet, and the red star Betelgeuse marks one of his shoulders.

The upside down “V” of Taurus’s head can be seen to the left of Orion with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes and further to the left are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki. Taurus will soon begin to be lost in our twilight sky as we move towards autumn.

Mars rises in the east just before midnight about an hour later Saturn also appears.

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises around 4am and Mercury will also make an appearance in the predawn sky.


22-23 March 2014

Last Quarter Moon is on 24th March and therefore the Moon will be rising later each evening.

High in the north is the bright star Sirius marking the front of Canis Major, the large dog. To Maori it is known as 'Takarua' and is known as the 'winter star'. 

Below is Canis Minor - this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon, which is 11.5 light years away. 

Orion is lying on in his side in the north-west after sunset and is setting by midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line that is almost vertical. Rigel, which is one of Orion’s feet is to the left and the red star Betelgeuse, marks one of his shoulders is to the right.

Below and to the right of Betelgeuse is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently, after the Moon, the brightest object in our evening sky.  Jupiter is sitting in front of the stars that form the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. 

The 'V' of Taurus’ head can be seen lying on it's side above the north-western horizon with the orange star, Aldebaran marking one of his eyes. Below are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki which set around 9:30 pm.

Mars is climbing higher in the east after sunset and will be followed by Saturn which rises around 10:30 pm. 

In the south, and about halfway up, are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross, and higher up are the Diamond and False Crosses.  They sit in or beside the Milky Way and are overhead just before sunrise.

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises in the east around 3:30 am and Mercury will also make an appearance in the predawn sky around 4:30 am.


15 -16 March 2014

Full Moon is on the 17th and the Moon will be visible throughout the night (if not cloudy!).  On the 17th of March the moon will sit between Mars and Saturn.

High in the north is the bright star Sirius marking the front of Canis Major, the large dog. To Maori it is known as 'Takarua'.

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon which is 11.5 light years away.

Orion is lying on in his side in the north-west after sunset and is setting by midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line that is almost vertical. Rigel which is one of Orion’s feet is to the left and Betelgeuse, the red star marks one of his shoulders is to the right.

Below and to the right of Betelgeuse is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently, after the Moon, the brightest object in our evening sky. 

The upside down “V” of Taurus’ head can be seen above the north-western horizon with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes, and below are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki. These stars soon set after the Sun.

Mars is in the east after sunset and will be followed by Saturn.

In the south, and about halfway up, are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross, along the Diamond and False Crosses, and they sit in or beside the Milky Way; they will be overhead just before sunrise.

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises in the east around 3:30 am and Mercury also makes an appearance in the predawn sky around 4:30 am.


8 – 9 March 2014

First Quarter Moon is on Sunday the 9th and the Moon will be visible in the evening sky.  On the 10th of March it will sit near Jupiter.

High in the north is the bright star Sirius marking the front of Canis Major, the large dog. To Maori it is known as 'Takarua'.

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon which is 11.5 light years away.

Orion is in the north-west after sunset and is setting by midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line. Above is Rigel - one of Orion’s feet and the belt is the red star Betelgeuse, which marks one of his shoulders.

Below and to the right of Betelgeuse is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently the brightest object in our evening sky, after the Moon. 

The upside down “V” of Taurus’s head can be seen to the left of Orion with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes and further to the left are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki. Taurus will soon be lost in our twilight sky as we move through autumn.

Mars will rise in the east after sunset about an hour later Saturn will also appear.

In the south, and about halfway up, are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross, along, the Diamond and False Crosses, and they sit in or beside the Milky Way. They will be overhead just before sunrise.

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises in the east around 3:30 am and Mercury will also make an appearance in the predawn sky around 4:30 am.


1 - 2 March 2014

New is Moon is on Saturday 1st March, so we should have dark skies throughout the weekend.

Jupiter is due north after sunset and will be the brightest ‘star’ in the night sky. If you have binoculars you should be able to see up to 4 of its moons.

Rising in the east around 10:30 is Mars, which will appear as red ‘star’, and an hour later Saturn will also rise appearing as a yellow ‘star’.

The brightest star in our night sky is Sirius marking the front of Canis Major, the large dog. To Maori it is known as 'Takarua'.

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon, which is 11.5 light years away.

Orion is in the north-west after sunset and is beginning to set around midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line. Above is Rigel, which is one of Orion’s feet, and below the belt is the red star Betelgeuse, which marks one of his shoulders.

The upside down “V” of Taurus’ head can be seen to the left of Orion with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes and further to the left are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki. Taurus will soon begin to be lost in our twilight sky as we move towards autumn.

Mars rises in the east just before midnight about an hour later Saturn also appears.

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises around 4am and Mercury also makes an appearance in the predawn sky.

The CME from the X-flare earlier this week has arrived and this has trigged a level 2 geomagnetic storm. Whether this develops to strong auroral activity is uncertain.


22 - 23 February 2014

Last Quarter Moon is on the 23rd at 6:15 and the Moon will be visible after midnight.

High in the north is the bright star Sirius marking the front of Canis Major, the large dog. To Maori it is known as 'Takarua'.

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon which is 11.5 light years away.

Orion is in the north-west after sunset and is beginning to set after midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line. Above is the Rigel which is one of Orion’s feet and the belt is the red star Betelgeuse which marks one of his shoulders.

Below and to the right of Betelgeuse is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently, after the Moon, the brightest object in the night sky.

The upside down “V” of Taurus’s head can be seen to the left of Orion with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes and further to the left are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki. Taurus will soon begin to be lost in our twilight sky as we move towards autumn.

Mars rises in the east just before midnight, about an hour later Saturn will also appear.

In the south east are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross along next to the Diamond and False Crosses. They sit in or beside the Milky Way and climb higher in the south east as the night progresses.

Venus, the brilliant ‘Morning Star’, rises around 4am and Mercury also makes an appearance in the predawn sky.

Finally, the Auroral activity observed on Wednesday/Thursday nights has dropped off, but a recent solar flare may see activity resume on Sunday night/Monday morning.


15 - 16 February 2014                                         

Full Moon is on the 15th at 12:53 and the Moon will be visible throughout the night.

High in the north is the bright star Sirius marking the front of Canis Major, the large dog. The ‘rear’ of the dog is marked by the star Wezen which is 1,600 light years away and 82,000 times brighter that Sun!

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon.

Orion is in the north-west after sunset and is beginning to set after midnight. The three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line which is now becoming verticle. Above is the bright star Rigel which is one of Orion’s feet, below is the red star Betelgeuse which marks one of his shoulders. This star is 640 light years away.

Below and to the right of Betelguese is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently, after the Moon, the brightest object in the night sky. 

The upside down “V” of Taurus’s head can be seen to the left of Orion with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes and further to the left are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki. Taurus will soon begin to be lost in our twilight sky as we move towards autumn.

Rising in the east is a small group of four stars that form Corvus the crow. It was quite a distinct shape and will climber higher in the north as the night progresses.

Mars will rise in the east just before midnight, and nearby is the white star Spica, brightest star in Virgo. About an hour later Saturn will also appear sitting in front of the faint stars of Libra, the scales.

In the south – east  are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross along the Diamond and False Crosses, and they sit in or beside the Milky Way; they will climb higher in the south east as the night progresses.

Finally Venus will be at its brightest in the morning sky this weekend. The brilliant ‘Morning Star’ will rise around 4am and when viewed through a telescope a crescent shape will  be seen. By watching the changing phase and size of Venus, Galileo was able to prove that Venus orbits the Sun.


8 – 9 February 2014

First Quarter Moon is 7 February at 8:22 and the Moon will be visible till at least midnight over the weekend. The Moon will pass in front of the stars that form Taurus this weekend.

High in the north is Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, it marks the front of Canis Major, the large dog.

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by a bright star called Procyon on 8 February.

Orion is in the north-west after sunset and is beginning to set after midnight. the three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line. Above is a bright star called Rigel which is one of Orion’s feet, below is the red star Betelgeuse which marks one of his shoulders. This star is 640 light years away.

Below and to the right of Betelguese is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently the brightest ‘star’ in the evening sky. 

The upside down ‘V’ of Taurus’s head can be seen to the left of Orion with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes and further to the left are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki. Taurus will soon begin to be lost in our twilight sky as we move towards autumn.

Rising in the east is a small group of four stars that form Corvus the crow. It was quite a distinct shape and will climber higher in the north as the night progresses.

Mars will rise in the east just before midnight and about one hour later Saturn will also appear.

In the south-east  are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross along the Diamond and False Crosses, and they sit in or beside the Milky Way; they will climb higher in the south east as the night progresses.

Finally the Alpha Centaurid meteor shower reaches its maximum on 8 February and can reach up to 30 meteors per hour. The radiant of this shower is near to Alpha Centauri, the brighter of the two pointer stars.


1 - 2 February 2014

New Moon is on the 31 January at 10:38 and it may be possible to see a thin crescent in the west after sunset on Sunday.

High in the north is Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, it marks the front of Canis Major, the large dog. A lovely cluster of stars sits in the belly of the dog called M41, visible to the unaided eye a pair of binoculars will begin to resolve individual stars. Small telescopes will reveal over 25 stars with a bright red star near the center.

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon.

Orion is in the north after sunset, the three bright stars of his belt form an easily seen line. Above is a bright star called Rigel which is one of Orion’s feet, below is the red star Betelgeuse which marks one of his shoulders.

Below and to the right of Betelguese is Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. It is currently the brightest ‘star’ in the evening sky. 

The upside down “V” of Taurus’s head can be seen to the left of Orion with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes and further to the left are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki.

Rising in the east is a small group of four stars that form Corvus the crow. It is quite a distinct shape and will climber higher in the north as the night progresses.

Mars will rise in the east around midnight and about one hour later Saturn will also rise.

In the south-east  are the Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross along the Diamond and False Crosses, and they sit in or beside the Milky Way; they will climb higher in the south east as the night progresses.


25 - 26 January 2014

The Moon is now past full and is rising after midnight giving us darker skies in the evening.  The Moon will pass the planets Mars and Saturn in the early morning sky.

High in the North-East is Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, it marks the front of Canis Major, the large dog, can be seen lying on his back.

Below is Canis Minor, the small dog, this constellation is marked by the 8th brightest star in our night sky called Procyon.  It is a nearby star 12 light years away and 7 times brighter than our Sun.

Orion is almost due north after suns, the three bright stars of Orion’s belt form an easily seen line. Above is a bright star called Rigel which is one of Orion’s feet, below is the red star Betelgeuse which marks one of his shoulders.

The upside down “V” of Taurus’s head can be seen to the left of Orion with the orange star Aldebaran marking one of his eyes and further to the left are the Pleiades/Seven Sisters/Matariki.

In the south are The Pointers and Crux, the Southern Cross along the Diamond and False Crosses are low in the south and will climb higher in the south east as the night progresses

 

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phone: +64 4 910 3140

Carter Observatory, PO Box 893, Wellington 6140

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