The Moon begins our week with glorious brightness in its full
phase the night of Friday, May 12, after which it wanes through
gibbous to third
quarter (reached a week after, the night of Friday the 19th).
The night of the full Moon also sees our companion rising below
bright Jupiter with Zubenelgenubi (Alpha Librae) in
between, the star lost in moonlight. As the week progresses, the
Moon takes on Antares (the
luminary of Scorpius) the morning
of Sunday the 14th, when it will appear to the west of the star.
By the following morning, the Moon will have glided to the other
side. In between it occults the red supergiant as seen
from the South
Pacific. On Friday the 19th, the Moon passes south of Neptune,
the planet now in the far northeastern corner of Capricornus.
From the inside of the Solar
System outward, we first find Mercury in superior
conjunction with the Sun (when it is
on the other side of the Sun) on Thursday the 18th. Next out, Venus is
on wonderful display in the morning sky, rising just a bit after
the onset of twilight and followable until bright dawn. Then back
to evening with
Mars. Plowing through central Gemini, the red planet descends the northwestern
evening sky, but still not setting until half an hour after
midnight Daylight Time. Next over in the west is Saturn in Cancer, which sets about an hour
later. Finally, in early evening turn in the other direction, to
the southeast, to admire bright Jupiter, which is with us nearly
all night, does not cross the meridian to the south until 12:30 PM
(as Mars sets), and does not itself set until bright dawn overtakes
Under-appreciated among northerners, giant Centaurus, the Centaur, skims the southern horizon
south of Virgo's Spica, only his northern stars visible for anyone
much north of the tropics. And too bad, as the constellation
contains the closest star system to the Earth, triple Alpha Centauri, whose two
brightest members conspire to produce the third visually brightest
star of the sky and whose dim telescopic companion Proxima is
actually the nearest of all neighbors (only 4.22 light years away).
To the east is bright Lupus, the
Wolf, to the southwest Crux, the
famed Southern Cross.