Thursday, February 3, 2011

Venus Amongst the Clusters (Saturday February 5th)

Morning sky looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am daylight saving time on Saturday February 5 showing Venus, Mercury and the bright star Antares. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

Venus has some very interesting encounters over the next few days.

First off and quite beautiful, tomorrow morning on Saturday the 5th, Venus is between the open cluster M23 and the Triffid nebula M20. This event is best seen with binoculars. However, because of the glare of Venus, you will probably need to move Venus out of the field of view to see M20 and M23 at their best.

You will need to look between 5:00 am and 5:30 am local Australian daylight saving time when Venus and the clusters are high enough above the horizon but it is still dark enough fro the clusters not to be drowned out by the twilight.

On the 7th and 8th Venus is very close to mu Sagittarii, the lid of the "teapot" of Sagittarius.

On the 9th, Venus is very close to the Asteroid Vesta (see printable PDF map here). Vesta is quite faint (magnitude 7), so you need binoculars and may need to watch over a number of nights to make sure you are seeing it (and the same considerations for the clusters apply to Vesta).

Venus has more encounters coming up. So keep an eye out (and watch out for NanoSail-D)

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