The closest alignment occurs between roughly and a. All four perform an intricate dance with the planet and each other. Also note Europa slightly west of Jupiter. Although the planet sets in the eastern half of North America before the conclusion plays out, those in the western half should enjoy excellent views. Saturn rises shortly before p. It climbs highest in the south during the wee hours of the morning and remains conspicuous until twilight is well underway.
The ringed planet will reach opposition and peak visibility in mid-June, but the view in May suffers little in comparison. Once you soak in the view with your naked eye, target Saturn with binoculars. The ringed planet nestles among the rich star clouds of the Milky Way, not far from the galactic center. Saturn drifts slowly westward during May, starting in Sagittarius and crossing into Ophiuchus on May Avoid the mornings of May 13 and 14 when a bright gibbous Moon passes a few degrees from Saturn.
Of course, nothing compares to the view of Saturn through a telescope. But the rings are what put Saturn in a class by itself. Notice in particular the dark Cassini Division that separates the outer A ring from the brighter B ring. Perhaps the most intriguing of these observationally is distant Iapetus, which glows some five times brighter when it lies farthest west of the planet than when it is farthest east.
It reaches a favorable greatest western elongation May 9, when it stands 9' from Saturn. Iapetus then shines at 10th magnitude as its bright hemisphere faces Earth. It fades slowly as it heads eastward along its day orbit.
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The moon glows at 11th magnitude when it passes 2' north of the planet May The other visible moons lie much closer to Saturn. The brightest is 8th-magnitude Titan, whose distance from the planet ranges between 1. Look for Titan due north of Saturn May 7 and 23 and due south on May 15 and A trio of 10th-magnitude moons orbit inside of Titan. Rhea circles Saturn in 4.
This moon glows at 12th magnitude and hovers so close to the rings that the glare makes it hard to see. The first to rise is outermost Neptune. This ice giant world resides in Aquarius and pokes above the eastern horizon around 3 a. To locate Neptune, first find magnitude 3. The planet spends the month within 20' of this star and passes 9' due south of it on the 14th. Dazzling Venus rises about two hours before the Sun. Once it does, it dominates the eastern sky. The inner planet reached greatest brilliancy in late April, but it remains the same brightness magnitude —4.
Venus now lies relatively close to Earth, and this means that its appearance through a telescope changes dramatically during the course of the month. On May 1, the planet appears 38" across and about one-quarter illuminated. By the 31st, its disk spans 25" and nearly half of it is lit. Venus also serves as a guide to distant Uranus.
Wait until the end of May, when the two rise together just as morning twilight begins. On the 31st, magnitude 5. Although the outer planet soon gets lost in the growing twilight, Venus remains conspicuous until shortly before sunrise. Have you ever watched someone roll their head? It lets us see 9 percent more of Luna than the 50 percent that normally faces Earth. Binoculars allow you to track this motion easily.
And the timing this month is just about perfect. In most lunar months, at least one of the lunar edges angled toward us ends up in darkness. In May, the Sun illuminates each section of the limb as our worlds dance through space. The month opens with the northeastern limb displaying the lava-filled Mare Humboldtianum. Inward from there lies the lovely oval crater Endymion, with the striking pair of Atlas and Hercules not much farther inside.
To the south, the dark patches of Mare Smythii and Mare Marginis sit near the limb while Mare Crisium resides a fair distance away. As we approach the May 10 Full Moon, notice how our satellite seems to roll back to the northeast. Endymion almost reaches the limb, and Atlas and Hercules are not far behind. The southern highlands show a gray shade as Mare Australe rotates into view. Note how far north Tycho lies — six months from now, the crater will appear much closer to the southern limb.
Also check out the western limb, where Grimaldi sits a bit more than one crater-width from the edge. Meanwhile, Oceanus Procellarum extends right to the limb. And keep watching after Full Moon — binoculars let you follow libration even past sunrise. Although the waxing gibbous Moon interferes this year, observers have a clear shot once the Moon sets — around 4 a.
The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Aquarius, which rises a couple of hours before twilight begins.
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The meteoroids hit our atmosphere at 41 miles per second, one of the highest velocities among all showers. The high speed and low radiant mean Eta Aquariid meteors often leave long trails. The periodic visitor remains visible from dusk to dawn as it slides southward through eastern Hercules. The comet appears in the vicinity of brilliant Vega, which makes a convenient signpost for finding the dirty snowball. Look for a greenish gas tail extending from the coma. If the comet performs like it did at its last observed apparition, this tail should resolve into multiple strands when viewed through a telescope.
Comet 41P should be a finalist for comet of the year, but if its nucleus cracks as it did in , it may rank as the comet of the decade. That previous outburst caused 41P to brighten by a factor of Spring is shaping up as a golden age for binocular comets. This first-time visitor to the inner solar system should deliver a nice show for both visual observers and astroimagers as its tail transforms from a wedge shape into a knife-edged saber in a few weeks.
Get A Copy
Be sure to enjoy this comet bounty while it lasts. Whether you prefer an easy search with a telescope from the suburbs or a more challenging hunt with binoculars under a dark sky, asteroid 4 Vesta is the target of choice this month. Start your quest with the great Beehive star cluster M44 in Cancer. After reading bits and pieces of a tatty old hand written journal, she begins to consider the possibilities that Eric might be the killer. Deanna's birthright is a Hunter. The very people who kill dangerous and evil werewolves.
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With no hope on the horizon, Deanna finds herself caught in a horrific situation and she must accept what she is to become. Can Eric's love for Deanna save her from herself? Or him? Nayuleska's reasons for loving Deanna Although thankfully I don't have to fend off werewolves, which she does with an awkward but definitely strong fashion. Two features which highlight how fragile Deanna is, but she does fight back. Although the enemy lives in her town, which isn't a comforting thought with all the power the enemy commands. Are there lots of plot twists and surprises?
I beamed when I came across the plot twists.