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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday May 20 to Thursday May 27

The First Quarter Moon is Friday May 21. Venus is readily visible in the twilight. Saturn is seen in the evening above the northern horizon near the bright stars Regulus and Spica. On May 23 the Moon is close to Saturn. Jupiter is easily seen in the morning sky, with Mercury below it. On May 20 the Moon is close to Mars.

The morning sky facing north-east in Australia on Sunday May 27 at 5:30 am local time showing Jupiter Uranus and Mercury.

The First Quarter Moon is Friday May 21.

Saturn is rising before Sunset and is easily visible in the evening sky as the bright yellow object between the bright stars Regulus and Spica. On Sunday May 23 the Moon is near Saturn. Now is still a very good time for telescopic observation of the ringed world. On the 25th of May, Saturns' Moon Titan cruises just above the planets north pole.

However, it is best to wait until around 9 pm, when Saturn is quite high in the sky for the best telescopic views. Saturn's' rings are opening, and look quite beautiful, even in a small telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Mercury is in the morning sky and is visible low to the horizon below Jupiter.

Bright white Venus is now readily visible above the western horizon from half an hour after Sunset, (even before) until the end of twilight (about an hour and a half after sunset). Venus stars the week not far from Gemini, as as the week progresses it comes closer to some moderately bright stars of this constellation.

Jupiter is now easy to see in the morning sky as the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon. With Mercury below it they will make a fine morning sight. Uranis is withing a binocular field of Jupiter, and you can follow their progress as Jupiter comes closer to Uranus.

Evening sky looking North showing Mars, the Moon, Saturn and bright stars at 10:00 pm local time on Sunday May 23. Click to embiggen.

In the evening Mars can be seen low in the north-western sky. It has faded a lot, but is still the brightest (and clearly red) object in that part of the sky. Red Mars is in Leo, and is coming closer to Regulus, the bright star in Leo the lion. On Thursday May 20 Mars is close to the Moon.

Mars forms a line with Regulus, Saturn and Spica.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm ADST, Western sky at 10 pm ADST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch. Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.


I live in the mountains NW of NYC. The night of March 20th, approximately 2200 hrs, I saw a bright colorful object move across the sky from East to West. The moon was bright, there were no clouds, yet this was bright and clearly visible. It was perhaps a bit faster than half the speed of a shooting star. This may only appear as such because it ist was visable for such a long distance. Has anyone else see this, and can anyone tell me what it was? My email is packetinc@aol.com
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