Skylights featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day

Scout Report Selection Webivore Selection SpaceCareers Selection

Skylights featured nine times on Earth Science Picture of the Day: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 -- Full List Restored!

Funny clouds

Photo of the Week. Odd convective clouds parcel the sky.

Astronomy news for the two weeks starting Friday, April 24, 2015.

The next skylights will appear May 8, 2015.

A fat waxing crescent opens our fortnight, first quarter hit right behind the evening of Saturday, April 25, the phase beautifully reached as the sky darkens and night descends. After waxing through its gibbous phase, our Moon then passes full the evening of Sunday, May 3, with the Moon already high in the sky. The period ends with the Moon fading in the waning gibbous, third quarter not reached until next week on Monday the 11th.

The first quarter will make a fine sight to the southwest of Jupiter the evening of Saturday the 25th, while the following evening finds the growing gibbous to the southeast of the giant planet. A further night puts the Moon right below the star Regulus. With the Sun climbing to the north of the celestial equator, the full Moon will be south of it, set within the dim stars of Libra. The bright post-full Moon then takes on Saturn, appearing to the northwest of the ringed planet the night of Monday the 4th, to the northeast of it the following night.

To Jupiter and Saturn, we add brilliant Venus, which is still setting later each evening, not until after 11 PM Daylight time. In May's earliest days, Venus lies more or less on a line between Orion's Betelgeuse down and to the left, and Auriga's Capella up and to the right. Jupiter makes something of a statement as it invisibly transits the meridian to around the time of sunset, appearing then high to the southwest as twilight ends, which is about when Saturn rises in the southeast to the northwest of Antares. With a good horizon, you might also spot Mercury in the northwest after sunset.

As we pass the first of May (actually May Eve), a cross-quarter day that marks the halfway point of spring as we head toward summer, the winter constellations, Canis Major and the like, take leave. Look high for orange Arcturus, marginally the brightest star of the northern hemisphere, then into the northeast for number two, Lyra's Vega. Number 3, Capella, is escaping with the rest of the winter gang. To the northwest of Arcturus, the Big Dipper of Ursa Major rides nearly overhead for those in mid- latitudes.

Valid HTML 4.0!