Is now we’ll underway and the focus up here in Nth Qld has been on the clouds, rain and flooding rivers ! However, as I write it is clearing up and the floods are receding & we hope the skies clearing.
Venus and Mercury are very low in the western sky at sunset and it will take keen eyes and perhaps a pair of binoculars to Tease them out from the post sunset glow.
Jupiter rises in Libra around 10pm as the month begins & soon after 8pm at months end. It continues to grow in size as it approaches its May opposition and is always a changing spectacle to behold.
Mars and Saturn dominate the morning sky as Mars continues to grow in brilliance & Stature as it moves towards its best opposition since 2003 !
Saturn maintains a close vigil over the bright globular Cluster M22 in Sagittarius, defiantly worth a look through a wide field telescope. In fact if you have a telescope and especially if it’s 8” (200mm) or over, you may like to trace the movement of asteroid “18 Melpomene” as it tracks past several Galaxies in Virgo. NGC4339 & 4281 on the 12th & NGC4261 on the 14th. This is an observational challenge !
Mars and Saturn steal the planetary show at the start of the month on the 2nd with the planets being just 1.2 Degree’s apart and close to Globular Cluster M22. This month Jupiter has two close encounters with the moon on the 3rd and 30th, just in case you were note sure where Jupiter was in the night sky.
The meteor showers this month are firstly the Lyrids, peaking on the 22nd in the Northern Sky with the peak rate of around 20 per hour but have been known to give short bursts of 90 for an hour or so !
The other shower is the Pi- Puppids in the southern sky with low numbers but noted for its bright yellow meteors and occasional fireballs, it is one to watch on the 23rd. For my part I would set the 22nd and 23rd aside for viewing these showers.
In May Jupiter is the King of the Planets coming to Opposition on the 9th and is at its biggest and brightest, rising in the east as the sun sets in the west. Mars has now increased in size to greater than that of Venus and is one to watch as it moves towards its July Opposition.
ABC Stargazing Live Event on Wednesday the 23rd of May:
NightSkySecrets will be participating in the ABC Star Stuff event and the World record attempt for the biggest combined observing night ever ! Some of the sights visible on the night include of course Jupiter, only just past opposition and showing us all 4 of her satellite moons. Saturn continues its close encounter with the Globular Cluster M22 and will be a great sight through high powered wide field eyepieces. The 1st 1/4 moon will show off some of its finest craters along the terminator where the dark meets the light. Looking to the Southern Sky, the bright Star Cluster of the Jewel Box in the Southern cross is sure to be one of our many deep sky targets. You can find the Facebook Event Page Here.
Remember that in any month there are many fine sights in the night sky visible with Binoculars or a simple wide field telescope such as clusters, comets, double stars, the planets and more, so keep looking up !
As always if you would like to know more, we love hearing from you at NightSkySecrets