Except where indicated, all of the phenomena described here can be seen with the unaided eye. And unless otherwise specified, dates and times are for the Australian Eastern Standard Time zone, and sky directions are from the point of view of an observer in the Southern Hemisphere.
It is First Quarter Moon today at 3:38am Australian Eastern Daylight Time. First Quarter is a good time to look at the Moon through a telescope, as the sunlight angle means the craters and mountains are throwing nice shadows, making it easier to get that 3D effect.
Take a look in the evening sky and you’ll see the Moon with what looks like a bright star above and to its right. Well, that’s not a star, it’s the planet Jupiter. Also today, the Moon will reach the farthest point from Earth in its orbit, apogee, at a distance from Earth of 406,176 kilometres.
Take a look at the western horizon after sunset and you’ll see a pretty group comprising Venus, Mercury and the star Antares.
Full Moon occurs today at 7:16am Australian Eastern Daylight Time.
Out to the east in the early morning sky (pre-dawn) you’ll find a pair of celestial orbs that contrast each other nicely in colour. Ruddy coloured Mars will appear very close to Regulus, a blue giant star that is the brightest star in the constellation Leo.
It is Last Quarter Moon today at 2:09am Australian Eastern Daylight Time. If you’re up before dawn, take a look out to the eastern sky and you’ll see the Moon with the star Regulus close by, and the planet Mars about 4 degrees away as well.
Another attractive grouping, but quite low in the eastern sky before dawn (so you’ll need a clear horizon). There’ll be the Moon, plus the star Spica (the brightest star in the constellation Virgo) and the planet Saturn as well.
Today the Moon will be at the closest point to Earth in its orbit, called perigee, which is the opposite of apogee. The distance between the two bodies today will be 359,691 kilometres.
New Moon occurs today at 5:10pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time.
Take a look out to the west just after sunset, and you might see the very thin crescent Moon below and to the right of the planet Venus.
If you have any questions or comments on the night sky, we’d be happy to answer them. Please use the Feedback Form below. Happy stargazing!
Images courtesy IAU / TWAN / Babak /A. Tafreshi.
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