When it comes to the planets, Saturn rules the August skies as Jupiter sinks into the north west. Shrinking just a little in size from its June opposition Saturn is still the finest sight in the night sky. Comet Johnson 2015 V2 however, is fading from magnitude 8 to 9 as it passes through the constellation Centaurus but is still the best comet around and can be found with a finder chart , good Binoculars & some persistence! When it comes to the constellations in the northern skies Cygnus the swan, makes its presence known with the showpiece binary star Albiro at the head of the swan. In the southern sky the aboriginal figure of the Emu is clear and prominent, The Emu stretches from the southern cross through Centaurus, Scorpius and into Sagittarius, as seen here from our clear tablelands skies on one of NightSkySecrets tours, as photographed by Michael Radov.
As we move into September we have a number of close encounters between the planets and the Moon. On the 18th the Moon and Venus are close in the predawn sky, then on the 22nd Jupiter and the thin crescent moon are nearby in the twilight. Finally on the 27th around 8pm you will see Saturn in the western sky in the constellation of Scorpius with the moon. In the Northern Sky, The Andromeda Galaxy makes it’s return to our evening skies. Andromeda is a great one to observe as it can be seen well with a high powered pair of Binoculars or a low power wide field telescope. It can be found by projecting west from the bright star Mirach in the constellation of Andromeda. One of only 3 Galaxies visible to the naked eye and “Just” 2 million light years away from our own Milky Way Galaxy. Finally the so called “Summer Triangle” now high in the Northern sky is in fact our winter or Dry Season delight here in Northern Australia, encompassing as it does the 3 mighty constellations of Cygus “The Swan”, Lyra “The Harp” & Aquila “The Eagle”. These constellation are packed with deep sky delights of Star clusters, planetary Nebula & even supernova remnants. So get out and enjoy the delights of our dry season skies while the going is good !