Astrophiz 170: Dr Ian Musgrave’s May SkyGuide

Moon Phases for May
Full Moon – 6 May (with penumbral eclipse in the early morning)Moon at Perigee – 11 MayLast Quarter – 12 MayNew Moon – 20 MayFirst Quarter – 28 May (also apogee moon)

Evening Sky Highlights
VENUS – moving from Taurus into gemini and getting brighter and climbing higher in the West. From the 9th to 10th Venus is closed to the open cluster M35. On the 23rd Venus is just 3degrees from the crescent moon, and on the 30th Venus will be right next to the Mag 3 double star Kappa Geminorum.Venus is in it’s ‘half-moon’ phase at the moment.
MARS – shrinking as it moves further away from earth in its orbit, but still easily visible, but you’ll need a serious large telescope to pull in deatils of Mars.On the 31st Mars is next to the Beehive Cluster.On the 24th Mars, Venus and the waxing moon make a neat little triangle in the West.

Morning Sky Highlights

On the 18th MERCURY the thin crescent moon with Jupiter above will be a nice capture for astrophotographers and naked eye observers.On the 29th Mercury is at its highest in Eastern morning skies and easily found.
SATURN in morning skies is a decent telescopic object again and angled just right to feature the maximum amount of shadow from Saturn’s rings.
The Heart of the MILKY WAY is beginning to rise again with Scorpius very visible.
The Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower is strong and reliable, however this year the Full Moon will play havoc for meteor watchers.Of course some meteors will be observed on the morning of the 5th if you choose your time wisely.

Ian’s Tangent – Betelgeuse is brightening
Scorpius is now down close to the Western Horizon taking Betelgeuse with it.After the 2019 ‘dimming’ of the red giant, caused by outgassing, we are observing the brightening of Betelgeuse again.
Ian also gives us great tips on how to start observing variable stars.
Next Episode: Dr Rodolfo (Rudy) Montez Jnr gives us a brilliant expose of X-Ray astronomy and the astonishing science of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory 

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