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Urban Observing May 2014 May 1, 2014

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
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Special Events

Meteor showers

The Eta Aquarids are active as the month opens, but you probably wouldn’t know it if you’re in the northern hemisphere. Active from April 19 – May 26, this is a great shower for those in the southern tropics, producing many quick but bright meteors, many with persistent trails. For those of us tin the northern hemisphere, the peak is on the 6th, so it’s worth going out on the morning of the 4th through 8. Aquarius rises for mid latitudes around 3 AM, but twilight begins around 5, so I’d suggest going out between 3 and 5!

Aquarius or May 6 at 4 AM

Aquarius or May 6 at 4 AM

Astronomy day

May 10 is International Astronomy Day. Find an event near you from the Night Sky Network https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/event-calendar.cfm or Astronomical League http://www.astroleague.org/al/astroday/astrodayform.html

Saturn Opposition

Saturn will be at opposition on May 10, so it will rise at sunset and remain out all night. It also means one of the best planets to look at through a small telescope will also be a perfect targets for summer nights.

Planets

9:30 PM on May 25

9:30 PM on May 25

Mercury reappears in the evening sky at the beginning of the month, but it’ll be the second or third week before it’s easy to see. It’s at greatest eastern elongation on May 25, so May 20 – 30 will be the best time to look for it. On May 30, using binoculars, look for it with a very young moon low in the west at sunset.

Venus remains a morning star all month. Look for it by 6 am though. Sunrise comes early at this time of year. On May 25th, an old crescent moon passes less then 2° from Venus.

10 PM on May 12

10 PM on May 12

Mars was just at opposition last month, so it’s a good target all evening this month too. A gibbous Moon passes Mars on the evenings of May 10 and 11th, then lines up between Mars and Saturn on the 12th.

Jupiter moves quickly toward the sun this month. Look for a crescent moon pass by on May 31.

Saturn is a good evening target all month.

The full moon falls on May 14.

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