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Tuesday, May 04, 2010


The Sky This Week - Thursday May 6 to Thursday May 13

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday May 6. Venus is readily visible in the twilight near the star Elnath. Mars enters Leo. Saturn is seen in the evening above the northern horizon near the bright stars Regulus and Spica. Jupiter is easily seen in the morning sky. On Monday May 10 the crescent Moon is close to Jupiter, on Wednesday May 12 crescent Moon is close to Mercury.

The morning sky facing east in Australia on May 10 at 6:00 am local time showing Jupiter and the Moon, with Mercury below.

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday May 6.

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. Now is still a very good time for telescopic observation of the ringed world. On the 9th of May, Saturns' Moon Titan cruises just above the planets north pole.

However, it is best to wait until around 10 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 returns to the morning sky. You may have difficulty spotting it low in the morning twilight, but on the morning of Wednesday May 12 the thin crescent Moon is slightly above and top the left of Mercury.

Bright white Venus is now readily visible above the western horizon from half an hour after Sunset, (even before) until the end of twilight. Venus stars the week not far from the Hyades cluster and the red star Aldebaran. Venus heads for the star Elnath, which tips one of the horns of Taurus the Bull. By the end of the week Venus is almost directly between the two stars that make up the horns of the Bull. You will need a flat, level horizon to see them at their best low in the late twilight sky.

Jupiter is now easy to see in the morning sky as the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon. On the monring of Monday May 10 the crescent Moon is close to Jupiter. With Mercury below this will make a fine morning sight.

Evening sky looking North showing Mars, Saturn and bright stars at 10:00 pm local time on Monday May 10. 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 leaves the constellation of Cancer, and heads towards Regulus, the bright star in Leo the lion.

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.


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