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!


Photo of the Week. Shadowed evening clouds.

Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, May 10, 2013.

The Moon spends the week waxing through its crescent phase. For those with clear northwestern horizons it will be just barely visible the evening of Friday, May 10, in bright twilight with Venus just up and to the right of it: a difficult sight at best. By the evening of Saturday the 11th, the growing but still thin crescent will be much more visible and will make a fine display as it sits a few degrees below bright Jupiter. By the following night, the Moon will have moved to appear up and to the left of the planet. On the night of Tuesday the 14th, look for it passing south of Castor and Pollux in Gemini. Continuing to fatten, the crescent phase finally ends at first quarter the night of Friday the 17th about the time of Moonset in North America. Look for Regulus to the northeast of it. On Monday the 13th, our companion passes apogee, where it is farthest from the Earth on its monthly round.

Even though Venus, as noted above, is coming into visibility, it has not yet arrived in any obvious way. And with Jupiter setting just after the end of twilight, the planetary sky is diminishing. The only planet we have to admire in any serious way is Saturn. Which is perhaps enough for now. Well up in the southeast in early evening about 15 degrees to the east of Spica (the two making a distant pair), the ringed planet crosses the meridian to the south around midnight Daylight Time. Practically on the Libra-Virgo border, Saturn stays with us the entire night, not setting in the southwest until dawn lights the eastern sky. Among the ancient planets, that leaves Mercury, which passes superior conjunction with the Sun (on the other side of it) on Saturday the 11th as it prepares for a decent evening showing in early June.

Leo, with its sickle-shaped foreparts, lies high to the south in early evening, the Big Dipper well to the north of it and nearly overhead. Between the Lion's head and the Dipper's bowl lie the dim stars of modern Leo Minor, the smaller Lion. Below the Sickle are the equally faint stars of modern Sextans, the Sextant. High to the southeast in early evening find bright orange Arcturus, which lies at the southern end of kite-shaped Bootes, the Herdsman. It begins a progression of constellations that extends eastward, the first of which is semi-circular Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. Its counterpart, Corona Australis, will be out of sight below summer's Sagittarius.
Valid HTML 4.0!