This year's special events in the sky



Sun:   Looking at the Sun either with the unaided eye or through binoculars or telescope is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!
here  to find out how to observe the Sun safely.



Moon Phases: 

The Moon is ideal for viewing in the week centred on the First Quarter phase, both regarding the sights presented and the most convenient time for observing (evenings). In addition, it is nearly overhead at sunset. First Quarter in 2018 will occur on the following dates:

2018:   January 25;   February 23;   March 25;   April 23;   May 22;   June 20;   July 20;   August 18;   September 17;   October 17;   November 16;   December 15



Eclipses in 2018:



TOTAL, JANUARY 31:   There will be a total lunar eclipse visible from south-east Queensland on Wednesday, January 31. All aspects of the eclipse will be visible. The Full Moon will enter the Earth's penumbra at 8:49 pm when it is about 26 degrees above the east-north-eastern horizon. This phase is hardly noticeable. The eclipse proper will begin at 9:50 pm, when the Moon begins to enter the Earth's main shadow, which is called the umbra. Even the most casual observer will see a bite appearing out of the edge of the Moon. The Full Moon will gradually lose its brightness as more of it disappears into our shadow. By 10:54 pm the bright Moon will be completely immersed in the shadow, but it will still be faintly visible as a reddish disc. This is the total phase of the eclipse, and mid-eclipse occurs at 11:30 pm. After that the Moon will very slowly brighten, and totality will end at 7 minutes after midnight. Then the western edge of the Moon will begin to come out of the umbra, and the whole Moon will again be visible by 1:10 am. The Moon will still take another hour to leave the penumbra, and the eclipse will be over by 2:14 am. Before and after a lunar eclipse, the Full Moon looks brighter than normal, as the Sun, Moon and Earth are so perfectly aligned.

TOTAL, JULY 28:   This eclipse of the Moon is total, but only the first part of the eclipse will be visible from south-east Queensland, and only then for early risers. The Full Moon will enter the penumbra at 3:20 am, and then the umbra, beginning at 4:21 am. Totality will begin at 5:27 am, and mid-eclipse occurs at 6:23 am. Totality will end at 7:18 am, but as the Moon will set at Nambour at 6:33 am, all subsequent parts of the eclipse will not be visible from the Sunshine Coast.

TOTAL, JANUARY 21, 2019:   From Queensland's Sunshine Coast, this total eclipse will occur during daylight hours, when the Full Moon will be below the horizon. It will end an hour before the Moon rises.



PARTIAL, FEBRUARY 16:    This partial eclipse of the Sun will not be visible from Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

PARTIAL, JULY 13:    This partial eclipse of the Sun will not be visible from Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

PARTIAL, AUGUST 11:    This partial eclipse of the Sun will not be visible from Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

PARTIAL, JANUARY 6, 2019:    This partial eclipse of the Sun will not be visible from Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

We will not see a partial eclipse of the Sun until April 20, 2023. The next total solar eclipse visible from parts of Australia will occur on July 22, 2028.




The Planets in 2018: 


Mercury:         January 2:                      Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky (22 35')
                                    February 17:                  Superior conjunction
                                    March 15:                      Greatest elongation from Sun in evening sky (18
                                    March 23:                      Eastern stationary point
                                    April 2:                           Inferior co
                                    April 15:                         Western stationary point
                                    April 30:                         Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky
                                    June 6:                          Superior conjunction
                                    July 12:                         Greatest elongation from Sun in evening sky (26
                                    July 26:                         Eastern stationary point
                                    August 9:                      Inferior co
                                    August 19:                    Western stationary point
         August 27:                    Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky (18
                                    September 21:             Superior conjunction
                                    November 7:                Greatest elongation from Sun in evening sky (23
                                    November 17:              Eastern stationary point
                                    November 27:              Inferior co
                                    December 7:               Western stationary point
                                    December 15:             Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky (21
                                    January 30, 2019:        Superior conjunction

 Venus:              January 9:                     Superior conjunction
                                    August 17:                    Greatest elongation from Sun in evening sky (45
                                    October 6:                    Eastern stationary point
                                    October 27:                  Inferior conjunction
                                    November 16:              Western stationary point
                                    January 6, 2019:          Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky (46


From mid-March to early October, Venus will dominate the western twilight sky as an 'evening star'. During March it will appear like a little Full Moon, and in August as a little half-Moon. From then until mid-October it will become a thin crescent, but growing in size, as it is coming between us and the Sun and turning its dark (night) side towards us. Venus will overtake the Earth on October 27, and will then move into the eastern pre-dawn sky as a 'morning star', becoming prominent there from November through the first half of 2019.

                             January 2018                          August 2018                           September 2018                     December  2018                       January 2019                          



Mars:                  March 25:                Western quadrature           (angular diameter =  8.0")
                                    June 27:                   Western stationary point    (angular diameter = 20.1")
                                    July 27:                     Opposition                          (angular diameter = 24.2")
                                    August 28:                Eastern stationary point     (angular diameter = 21.6")
                                    December 3:            Eastern quadrature            (angular diameter =   9.1")
For all of 2017, Mars was on the far side of its orbit, and therefore appeared quite small, less than 6 arcseconds in diameter. In 2018 the Earth will catch up to Mars and overtake it at opposition, July 27. At that time Mars will be much larger, with a diameter of 24 arcseconds. Its magnitude will be -2.8. This will be a very favourable opposition for observers in Australia, the best for at least ten years. Mars begins 2018 near the star Zuben Elgenubi in Libra with Jupiter close by. By April it will have moved close to Saturn in Sagittarius. When Mars is in central Capricornus on June 27, it will begin its retrograde loop, heading eastwards through the starry background until it stops on August 28 at the border with Sagittarius. It will then head westwards once again. Opposition will occur midway between the two stationary points, when Mars will be at its closest, biggest and brightest.



Jupiter:             February 11:                Western quadrature
                                    March 9:                      Western stationary point
                                    May 9:                         Opposition (Jupiter rises in the east at sunset)
                                    July 11:                        Eastern stationary point
         August 7:                     Eastern quadrature
                                    November 26:             Co
The giant planet begins 2018 near the star Zuben Elgenubi in Libra.  It will remain in that constellation until it crosses into Scorpius on November 21, 2018.



Saturn:             March 30:                     Western quadrature
                                   April 18
:                        Western stationary point
                                   June 27:                       Opposition
                                   September 6:               Eastern stationary point
                                   September 26:             Eastern quadrature
                                   January 2, 2019:          Conjunction

Saturn will spend all of 2018 in the western half of Sagittarius.



Uranus:            January 2:                    Eastern stationary point
                                   January 15:                  Eastern quadrature
                                   April 18:                        Conjunction
                                   July 25:                         Western quadrature
                                   August 7:                      Western stationary point
                                   October 24:                  Opposition
                                   January 7, 2019:           Eastern stationary point
                                   January 19, 2018:         Eastern quadrature

Uranus begins 2018 in the constellation Pisces, and will cross into Aries on April 22, 2018.



Neptune:        March 4:                      Conjunction
                                   June 7:                         Western quadrature
                                   June 19:                       Western stationary point
                                   September 8:               Opposition
                                   November 25:              Eastern stationary point
                                   December 6:               Eastern quadrature
                                   March 7, 2019:            Conjunction

Neptune spends the whole of 2018 in Aquarius, near the asterism known as the 'Water Jar'. It will remain in Aquarius until April 21, 2022.



Pluto:                  January 9:                  Conjunction
April 11:                      Western quadrature
                                   April 22:                       Western stationary point
                                   July 12:                        Opposition
                                   October 1:                   Eastern stationary point
                                   October 12:                 Eastern quadrature
                                   January 11, 2019:       Conjunction

Pluto spends all of 2018 in Sagittarius.  It will not move out of this constellation until  March 1, 2023.




Meteor Showers:

    January 4:               Quadrantids
    February 8:              Alpha-Centaurids
    April 22:                   Lyrids
    April 24:                   Pi-Puppids
    May 4:                     Alpha Scorpids
    May 5:                     Eta Aquarids (from Comet Halley)
    June 8:                    Arietids
    June 10:                  Zeta Perseids
    June 29:                  Beta Taurids
    July 10:                   Pegasids
    July 29:                   S Delta-Aquarids
    July 30:                   Alpha-Capricornids
    August 13:              Perseids (from Comet Swift-Tuttle)
    September 1:         Alpha-Aurigids
    October 22:            Orionids (from Comet Halley)
    November 3:           S Taurids (from Comet Encke)
    November 13:         N Taurids (from Comet Encke)
    November 18:         Leonids (from Comet Tempel-Tuttle)
    December 7:          Phoenicids
    December 14:        Geminids (from Comet Phaethon)
    December 24:        Ursids

The 3.9 metre Anglo-Australian Telescope near Coonabarabran, NSW




The main Constellations visible at about 8.00 pm each month, from the horizon to the zenith:          



        East:          Hydra, Canis Minor, Canis Major, Puppis
        South:       Crux, Musca, Carina, Vela, Pavo
        West:         Aquarius, Capricornus, Pisces, Grus, Piscis Austrinus, Phoenix, Cetus, Eridanus
        North:        Aries, Perseus, Taurus, Auriga, Gemini, Orion



        East:          Leo, Crater, Corvus, Hydra, Canis Major, Puppis
        South:       Grus, Centaurus, Crux, Musca, Carina, Vela
        West:         Cetus, Eridanus, Aries
        North:        Auriga, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Orion



        East:          Virgo, Libra, Lupus, Centaurus, Corvus, Crater, Hydra, Crux, Musca, Vela
        South:       Triangulum Australe, Toucan, Carina, Puppis
        West:         Phoenix, Cetus, Eridanus, Taurus, Orion, Canis Major
        North:        Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Canis Minor



        East:          Bootes, Libra, Scorpius, Virgo, Centaurus, Lupus, Ara, Crux, Musca, Corvus
        South:       Triangulum Australe, Pavo, Carina, Vela
        West:         Eridanus, Orion, Gemini, Canis Minor, Canis Major, Puppis
        North:        Cancer, Ursa Major, Leo, Crater, Hydra



        East:          Corona Borealis, Serpens, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Libra, Scorpius, Ara, Lupus, Centaurus
        South:        Indus, Pavo, Triangulum Australe, Crux, Musca, Carina
        West:         Canis Major, Canis Minor, Cancer, Puppis, Hydra
        North:        Ursa Major, Leo, Coma Berenices,Bootes, Virgo, Crater, Corvus



        East:          Ophiuchus, Capricornus, Sagittarius, Scorpius
        South:        Pavo, Triangulum Australe, Ara, Lupus, Crux, Musca
        West:         Hydra, Leo, Carina, Vela, Puppis, Crater, Corvus
        North:        Coma Berenices, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Virgo, Serpens, Libra



        East:          Aquarius, Delphinus, Grus, Capricornus, Aquila, Sagittarius, Scorpius
        South:       Carina, Musca, Crux, Ara, Triangulum Australe, Centaurus
        West:         Hydra, Crater, Corvus, Virgo, Vela, Libra
        North:        Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra, Ophiuchus, Serpens



        East:          Aquarius, Phoenix, Piscis Austrinus, Grus, Sagittarius
        South:       Eridanus, Musca, Crux, Triangulum Australe
        West:         Corvus, Virgo, Bootes, Libra, Centaurus, Ara, Lupus, Scorpius
        North:        Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus, Delphinus, Aquila



        East:          Pisces, Cetus, Eridanus, Phoenix, Piscis Austrinus, Grus, Aquarius, Capricornus
        South:       Crux, Musca, Triangulum Australe, Pavo
        West:         Centaurus, Libra, Serpens, Ophiuchus, Scorpius, Lupus, Ara
        North:         Lyra, Cygnus, Pegasus, Delphinus, Aquila



        East:           Eridanus, Cetus, Aries, Piscis Austrinus
        South:        Hydrus, Centaurus, Musca, Triangulum Australe, Ara, Pavo, Grus
        West:          Lupus, Scorpius, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Aquila, Capricornus
        North:         Cygnus, Delphinus, Pegasus, Andromeda, Aquarius



        East:           Taurus, Eridanus, Cetus, Phoenix
        South:        Carina, Musca, Triangulum Australe, Pavo
        West:          Scorpius, Sagittarius, Aquila, Delphinus, Capricornus, Grus, Piscis Austrinus
        North:         Pegasus, Andromeda, Aries, Pisces, Cetus, Aquarius



        East:           Taurus, Orion, Canis Major, Puppis, Carina, Eridanus
        South:        Carina, Musca, Pavo
        West:          Capricornus, Aquarius, Grus, Piscis Austrinus, Phoenix
        North:         Pegasus, Andromeda, Aries, Perseus, Cetus




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