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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 28 to Thursday June 4

The Full Moon is Wednesday June 4. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and is easily visible in the evening. The Moon is close to Saturn on June 1. Comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is visible in binoculars in the evening.

The Full Moon is Wednesday June 4.

Early evening sky on Saturday May 30 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 ACST showing Venus,  Jupiter and comet C/2015 G2. The location of comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is shown with a circle. You will need binoculars to see it. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-western horizon once Venus has set. (click to embiggen). 

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Mars  is lost in the twilight.

Venus is easy to see above the western horizon in the twilight. At nautical twilight, an hour after sunset, it is around two hand-spans above the horizon, and still visible at astronomical twilight.

During the week Venus draws closer to the stars Castor and Pollux, forming a line with them, heading for a meeting with Jupiter later this month.
 
 Jupiter  is easily seen  in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the northern horizon when twilight ends, and continues into the north-western sky as the night goes on. It is between the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion) and Pollux in Cancer. It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, and looks very good in binoculars. Jupiter, Venus and Pollux form a line in the sky. On the 24th the crescent Moon is close to Jupiter.

Jupiter is visible for most of the evening, sets just before 10 pm, and is high enough for telescopic observation once twilight is over. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

Comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is climbing in the evening sky fading as it goes. It is below magnitude 6,  and with the full Moon nearby it is may be difficult to see with binoculars, but should be fine in telescopes. In binoculars and modest telescopes the comet will be a fuzzy blob.

The comet will move through Monocerous into Canis Minor this week. A spotters map suitable for printing in black and white is here.

Evening sky on Monday June 1 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 20:00 ACST.  Saturn is  easily visible above the horizon in the head of the Scorpion. The Moon is close by on the 1st. The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. (click to embiggen).

Saturn is now easily visible around 7 pm near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

While Saturn is  readily visible from around  19:00, it is best for telescope observation from around 20:00 into the morning hours.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in the sky. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 21 to Thursday May 28

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday May 26. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. It is visited by the crescent Moon on the 24t. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and is easily visible in the evening. Comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is visible in binoculars in the evening.

The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday May 26. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 27th.

Early evening sky on Sunday May 24 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 ACST showing Venus,  Jupiter and the crescent Moon. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-western horizon once Venus has set. (click to embiggen).


Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Mars  is lost in the twilight.



Venus is easy to see above the western horizon in the twilight. At nautical twilight, an hour after sunset, it is around two hand-spans above the horizon, and still visible at astronomical twilight.

During the week Venus draws closer to the stars Castor and Pollux, heading for a meeting with Jupiter later next month.
 
 Jupiter  is easily seen  in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the northern horizon when twilight ends, and continues into the north-western sky as the night goes on. It is between the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion) and Pollux in Cancer. It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, and looks very good in binoculars. Jupiter, Venus and Pollux form a line in the sky. On the 24th the crescent Moon is close to Jupiter.

Jupiter was  at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on 7 February, but it will be an excellent object for many weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible for most of the night, setting just before 11 pm, and is high enough for telescopic observation once twilight is over. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

Evening sky on Saturday May 23 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 20:00 ACST.  Saturn is  easily visible above the horizon in the head of the Scorpion. The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. (click to embiggen).

Saturn is now easily visible around 9 pm near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

While Saturn is  readily visible from around  19:00, it is best for telescope observation from around 21:00 into the morning hours.

The evening sky at 18:55 (6:55 pm ACST) looking west as seen from Adelaide on 23 May.  The location of comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is shown with a circle. You will need binoculars to see it. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at equivalent local times. (click on image to embiggen).

Comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is climbing in the evening sky fading as it goes. It should be just below magnitude 6,  but with the waxing Moon nearby it is best viewed with binoculars and telescopes. In binoculars and modest telescopes the comet will be a fuzzy blob, high power  telescopes may show the thin tail seen in astrophotographs, although the Moon makes that unlikley.

The comet will move up through Canis Major towards Canis Minor this week. A spotters map suitable for printing in black and white is here.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in the sky. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

 

Aurora Watch (17-18 May)

An Aurora watch and a geomagnetic alert has been issued by the Australian  IPS for the 17 to 18th due to an anticipated impact from glancing blow from a Coronal Mass Ejection interacting with a coronal hole solar wind stream. This could translate into aurora at any time during the night time of the 17th to early morning 18th.  Aurora, if they flare up tonight, are likely to be seen only in Tasmania (possibly Victoria).

Aurora can occur at any time after nightfall (although around midnight or just after seems to be common). Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora and a large green "blob" has been seen.

The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be helpful.
<http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2>

SUBJ: IPS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 15/19
ISSUED AT 2309UT/15 MAY 2015
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

Combined coronal hole and CME glancing blow effects are expected
to produce disturbed geomagnetic conditions from 17-May.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL MASS EJECTION AND CORONAL HOLE
FROM 17-18 MAY 2015
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
17 May:  Quiet to minor storm
18 May:  Unsettled to Active

SUBJ: IPS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 2330 UT ON 15 May 2015 BY IPS RADIO AND SPACE SERVICES
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

A glancing blow from a Coronal Mass Ejection is expected to impact the
Earth from late on 17-May. This, combined with coronal hole effects,
could result in significant space weather activity and visible auroras
during local nighttime hours on 17-May. Aurora alerts will follow
should favourable space weather activity eventuate.

Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

 

Viewing Comet C/2015 G2 MASTER in the Southern Hemisphere this coming Week

The path of comet C/2015 G2 MASTER from 14 to 21 May, looking west as seen from Adelaide at Astronomical twilight (6:50 pm) and hour an a half after sunset. The position of the comet is shown every two days. You will probably need binoculars to see it. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at equivalent local times. Click to embiggenAnimation showing the path of the comet from 14-21 May at Astronomical twilight. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at equivalent local times. Click to embiggen

Printable black and white horizon chart facing west an hour and a half after sunset showing the path of comet C/2015 G2 MASTER  as seen from Adelaide. Similar views will be seen from Southern Hemisphere locations at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen and print

A PDF spotters map also suitable for printing in black and white is here

Printable black and white chart suitable for use with binoculars. 

Comet C/2015 G2 MASTER has entered the evening sky after being a morning object. It is now high enough above the horizon to be readily seen. It is around magnitude 6, just on the threshold of unaided eye visibility, but is best viewed with binoculars and telescopes. In binoculars the comet will looks like a large ball of cotton wool (it will look similar to the globular cluster omega centauri in binoculars). There is a thin tail seen in astrophotographs, but visual telescopic observation has not reported a tail yet.

The comet will move rapidly up through Lepus heading for Canis Major this week. It will stay around magnitude 6 for most of this time, and be readily visible in binoculars. It is the only relatively bright fuzzy blob in the area.

From the 14th-17th if you sweep across to the left from Orion in binoculars you should pick it up fairly easily. There after sweep down and to the left from Sirius. On the 18th the comet will be in binocular range of the faint but pretty globular cluster M79, the comet being the brighter. 

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

 

Aurora Alert NOW (13 May 2015)


Hobart
 K-Index plot diagramAn Aurora Alert and a geomagnetic alert has been issued by the Australian  IPS for the 13th due to an anticipated impact from a coronal hole solar wind stream. This appears to have hit during daylight hours, but the geomagnetic storm may continue during the evening hours.This could translate into aurora at any time during the 13th. Glows have been reported, but Tasmania is suffering from cloud.


Currently, the Kindex is 4 (it's higher in the Hobart magnetometer, but I suspect a glitch), solar wind speed is 535 Km/sec and the direction magnetic field direction is southerly, only -4 nT, but this is favorable for developing aurora. Aurora, if they flare up tonight, are likely to be seen only in Tasmania (possibly Victoria).

Aurora can occur at any time after nightfall (although around midnight or just after seems to be common). Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora and a large green "blob" has been seen.

The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be helpful.
<http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2>

SUBJ: IPS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 15/18
ISSUED AT 2324UT/12 MAY 2015
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL HOLE HIGH SPEED WIND STREAM
FOR 13 MAY 2015
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
13 May:  Active to Minor Storm

SUBJ: IPS AURORA ALERT HIGH LATITUDES
ISSUED AT 0620 UT ON 13 May 2015 BY IPS RADIO AND SPACE SERVICES
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE
       
Follow the progress of this event on the IPS web site
by following the links to the Space Weather Status Panel,
Home > Space Weather

Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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The Sky This Week - Thursday May 14 to Thursday May 21

The New Moon is Monday May 18. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky and is visited by the crescent Moon on the 21st. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and is easily visible in the evening. Mercury is difficult to view in the twilight. Comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is visible in binoculars in the evening.

The New Moon is Monday May 18. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 15th.

Evening sky on  Tuesday May 19 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 17:55 (5:55 pm) ACST in South Australia.  Venus is obvious in the early evening sky. Mercury is just on the horizon cloe to the crescent Moon. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Venus is easy to see above the western horizon in the twilight. At nautical twilight, an hour after sunset, it is around two hand-spans above the horizon, and still visible at astronomical twilight.

During the week Venus draws closer to the stars Castor and Pollux, heading for a meeting with Jupiter later next month. On the 21st the crescent Moon is close to Venus, forming a triangle with Venus and Pollux.

Mercury is low in the western evening sky and difficult to see in the twilight. On the 19th it and the crescent Moon are close, but you will need a flat level horizon like the ocean to see them.

Mars  is lost in the twilight.

Early evening sky on Thursday May 21 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 ACST showing Venus, the crescent Moon and  Jupiter. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-western horizon once Venus has set. (click to embiggen).

 Jupiter  is easily seen  in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the northern horizon when twilight ends, and continues into the north-western sky as the night goes on. It is between the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion) and Pollux in Cancer. It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, and looks very good in binoculars. Jupiter, Venus and Pollux form a line in the sky.

Jupiter was  at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on 7 February, but it will be an excellent object for many weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible for most of the night, setting just before 11 pm, and is high enough for telescopic observation once twilight is over. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

Evening sky on Saturday May 16 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.  Saturn is  easily visible above the horizon in the head of the Scorpion. The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. (click to embiggen).

Saturn is now easily visible around 9 pm near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

While Saturn is  readily visible from around 20:00, it is best for telescope observation from around 22:00 into the morning hours.

The evening sky at 18:55 (6:55 pm ACST) looking west as seen from Adelaide on 14 May.  The location of comet C/2015 G2 MASTER is shown with a circle. You will probably need binoculars to see it. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at equivalent local times. (click on image to embiggen).

Comet C/2015 G2 Master is now in the evening sky and high enough above the horizon to be readily seen. It should be around magnitude 6, just on the threshold of unaided eye visibility, but is best viewed with binoculars and telescopes. In binoculars the comet will be a fuzzy blob, and decent telescopes may show the thin tail see in astrophotographs.

The comet will move rapidly up through Lepus heading for Canis Major this week. A spotters map suitable for printing in black and white is here.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in the sky. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

Labels:


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

 

Aurora Watch (6-7 May)

An Aurora Watch and a geomagnetic alert has been issued by the Australian IPS for the 6th to 7th due to an anticipated impact from a Coronal Mass Ejection. This could translate into aurora at any time during the 6th to 7th (quite possibly after midnight on the 6th). Geomagnetic activity is rated at active with the possibility of a minor geomagnetic storm.

Aurora, if they occur, are likely to be seen only in Tasmania (possibly Victoria if the minor storm eventuates), but in the last unexpected storm they were seen in WA as well.

Aurora can occur at any time after nightfall (although around midnight or just after seems to be common). Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora and a large green "blob" has been seen.

Unfortunately the nearly full Moon will interfere substantially with any aurora. If viewing in the morning, watch out for the eta Aquariid meteor shower.
http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/2015/05/eta-aquariid-meteor-shower-7-9-may-2015.html
The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be helpful.
<http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2>

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
06 May:  Active
07 May:  Quiet to Unsettled


SUBJ: IPS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 2332 UT ON 04 May 2015 BY IPS RADIO AND SPACE SERVICES
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

A Coronal Mass Ejection is expected to impact the Earth during May
6-7, possibly resulting in significant space weather activity and
visible auroras during local nighttime hours. Aurora alerts will
follow should favourable space weather activity eventuate.

Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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Catch a Series of Bright International Space Station Passes (6-11 May 2015)

The ISS passes near the Venus, looking north-west as seen from Melbourne on the evening of Thursday 7 May at 19:04 AEST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes near the Venus, looking north-west as seen from Adelaide on the evening of Thursday 7 May at 18:33 ACST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggenThe ISS passes near the Venus, looking north-west as seen from Perth on the evening of Thursday 7 May at 18:33 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen
All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Thursday 7 May for Melbourne.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Thursday 7 May for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Thursday 7 May for Perth.

Starting tonight there are a series of bright evening passes of the International Space Station lasting a week. For many places in Australia this series has the ISS gliding either through or under Orion, depending on where you are, and coming close to bright Venus on the 7th (Thursday). Some of the passes are very short although bright as the ISS enters Earth's shadow. 

When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location (I'm using Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth as examples, for example, the view from Melbourne is  different from that of Adelaide and Perth on the night of the 7th). Even the difference between the city centre and the suburbs can mean the difference between seeing the ISS go through Orion's belt or just below it.
 
Start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, on the night there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions. The ISS will be moving moderately fast when it passes near Venus, so be alert.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 7 to Thursday May 14

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday May 11. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and is easily visible in the evening. Mercury is difficult to view in the twilight. Eta Aquariid meteor shower May 7-9. The International Space Station passes Venus as seen from many locations on the 7th.

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday May 11. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 15th.

Evening sky on  Thursday May 7 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 17:55 (5:55 pm) ACST in South Australia.  Venus is obvious in the early evening sky. Mercury is just on the horizon Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Venus is easy to see above the western horizon in the twilight. At nautical twilight, an hour after sunset, it is around two hand-spans above the horizon, and still visible at astronomical twilight.

During the week Venus draws closer to the stars Castor and Pollux, heading for a meeting with Jupiter later next month.

There are some good passes of the International Space Station this week, on the 7th the ISS passes Venus in many locations. See Heavens Above for predictions from your site.

Mercury is at its furthest from the Sun on the 7th, but is low in the western evening sky and difficult to see in the twilight. 

Mars  is lost in the twilight.

Early evening sky on Saturday May 9 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 ACST showing Venus and  Jupiter. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-western horizon once Venus has set. (click to embiggen).

 Jupiter  is easily seen  in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the northern horizon when twilight ends, and continues into the north-western sky as the night goes on. It is between the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion) and Pollux in Cancer. It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, and looks very good in binoculars. Jupiter, Venus and Pollux form a line in the sky.

Jupiter was  at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on 7 February, but it will be an excellent object for many weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible for most of the night, setting just after midnight, and is high enough for telescopic observation once twilight is over. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

Evening sky on Saturday May 9 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.  Saturn is  easily visible above the horizon in the head of the Scorpion. The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. (click to embiggen).

Saturn is now easily visible around 9 pm near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

While Saturn is  readily visible from around 20:00, it is best for telescope observation from around 22:00 into the morning hours.

Morning sky on Thursday May 8 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 4:00 am ACST.  The radiant of the eta Aquariid meteor shower is shown.   Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at equivalent local times. (click to embiggen).

The eta Aquariids meteor shower, the debris from Halleys comet, will peak on May 6 UT . However, good rates (compared to the peak) will be seen from Australia on the mornings of the 7th and 8th.

Unfortunately, the waning but nearly full Moon will significantly interfere with viewing meteors this year. People in the suburbs should see a meteor around once every 9 minutes, and in the country about once every 6 minutes. The radiant of the shower is about five handspans up from the eastern horizon, and three handspans to the left of due east at 4 am (see spotter chart at 4 am above).

When looking, be sure to let your eyes adjust for at least 5 minutes so your eyes can be properly adapted to the dark. Don't look directly at the radiant site, because the meteors will often start their "burn" some distance from it, but around a handspan up or to the side. Be patient, although you should see an average of a meteor every six minutes, a whole stretch of time can go by without a meteor, then a whole bunch turn up one after the other.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in the sky. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky

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