Monday, May 10, 2010

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 13 to Thursday May 20

The New Moon is Friday May 14. Venus is readily visible in the twilight, on Sunday May 16 Venus is very close to the crescent Moon between Zeta Tauri and the star Elnath. Saturn is seen in the evening above the northern horizon near the bright stars Regulus and Spica. Jupiter is easily seen in the morning sky, with Mercury below it. On May 20 the Moon is close to Mars.

The evening sky facing west in Australia on Sunday May 16 at 6:00 pm local time showing Venus and the Moon.

The New Moon is Friday May 14.

Saturn is rising before Sunset and is easily visible in the evening sky as the bright yellow object between the bright stars Regulus and Spica. Now is still a very good time for telescopic observation of the ringed world. On the 17th of May, Saturns' Moon Titan cruises just below the planets south pole.

However, it is best to wait until around 9 pm, when Saturn is quite high in the sky for the best telescopic views. Saturn's' rings are opening, and look quite beautiful, even in a small telescope. 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.

Mercury returns to the morning sky and is visible low to the horizon below Jupiter.

Bright white Venus is now readily visible above the western horizon from half an hour after Sunset, (even before) until the end of twilight (about an hour and a half after sunset). Venus stars the week not far from the Hyades cluster and the red star Aldebaran almost directly between the two stars that make up the horns of the Bull (Elnath and Zeta Tauri). On Sunday 16 May the crescent Moon is very close to Venus (in some parts of the world it goes in front of it). As twilight falls and the Moons earthshine and the constellation of Orion becomes visible, this will be a beautiful sight.

Jupiter is now easy to see in the morning sky as the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon. With Mercury below it they will make a fine morning sight.

Evening sky looking North showing Mars, the Moon, Saturn and bright stars at 9:00 pm local time on Thursday May 20. Click to embiggen.

In the evening Mars can be seen low in the north-western sky. It has faded a lot, but is still the brightest (and clearly red) object in that part of the sky. Red Mars is in Leo, and is coming closer to Regulus, the bright star in Leo the lion.

Mars forms a line with Regulus, Saturn and Spica.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm ADST, Western sky at 10 pm ADST. 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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