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

Cherry blossoms

Photo of the Week. Cheery cherry.

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, May 7, 2010.

The Moon wanes in its crescent phase during almost all of the week, not reaching new until the night of Thursday, May 13. It will be too thin to view that morning, so your last admiring look will be the morning of Wednesday the 12th. Before that, the fading crescent will make a fine sight along with Jupiter the morning of Sunday the 9th, when our companion will pass several degrees north of the Solar System's giant. Then, if you are up early enough to see a dark sky, the crescent can be found gliding beneath the Great Square of Pegasus the morning of Monday the 10th to the left of Jupiter. On Friday the 7th and Sunday the 9th, the Moon rather invisibly visits with Neptune and Uranus.

In the evening, Venus is getting just plain good, now not setting until over half an hour past the end of twilight. Look early into the west-northwest to see the brilliant planet moving easterly through central Taurus, with the Hyades and Aldebaran to the northwest. Looking to the other planet that brackets Earth, Mars transits the meridian before Sunset, giving it a place in the southwest as the sky darkens. Watch it move easterly from week to week against the background, the red planet nicely situated between Castor-Pollux in Gemini and Regulus. Mars will cross the boundary into Regulus's Leo at the end of the week. It then sets about two hours after midnight Daylight Time.

That leaves the big guys. Slowly retrograding westerly against the faint stars of western Virgo between Regulus and Spica, Saturn transits right at the end of evening twilight. It then sets just as morning twilight begins to light the sky just a few minutes after Jupiter rises (about 4 AM). Look for Jupiter before the sky gets too light.

With the Moon moving out of the way, you might also catch a few leftover meteors from the Eta Aquarid shower, which is caused by the leavings of Halley's Comet.

Then its back to Leo, the celestial Lion. At the end of twilight, the distinctive figure, with its sickle-like front end that ends in Regulus, is beautifully positioned to the south about two-thirds of the way up the sky. On his back, south of the Big Dipper, rides dim and modern Leo Minor, the Smaller Lion, one of the many figures invented a few hundred years ago to fill in the blanks between the ancient constellations.
Valid HTML 4.0!