Saturday, May 2, 2015

0502Y2K+15 May the nights be with you!

We continue to celebrate Hubble’s length of time in Space orbit and learn from the multitude of pictures taken from the darkness of our Universe! As the month of April moves into the warmer month of May, fields and forests are thick and green from rains. Thank you El Nino! Our friends on the hill at the TPML, once again had a cloudy night in April. Hope that May 9th will bring a clear night to search the stars and planets in scopes.

 For May Day, in the evening, Venus (in Gemini) shines directly between the horn-tips of Taurus, Zeta and Beta Tauri (Elnath). It's closest to brighter Beta. Jupiter (in Cancer) is heading west as the sun goes down, still the brightest target in the night sky. Saturn (in Libra) is coming on strong earlier each night in the east at sunset! May 23 is opposition for this ringed planet. Catch the bright Star Arcturus in twilight as the sun disappears. Near that bright star is a very neatly packed Globular Cluster, M3. More to the NE is one of the greatest Globular Cluster, in Hercules, M13!

May 6, watch the early morning night sky for the Eta Aquariid meteor shower. Look ESE several hours before sunrise. Forecast calls for 50 per hour in some moon light. Eta Aquariid meteors burn up about 100 kilometers (60 miles) above the Earth’s surface. The higher the radiant appears in your sky, the more Eta Aquariid meteors that you’re likely to see. The radiant soars highest in the nighttime sky just before dawn, so that’s why you tend to see the most meteors in the wee morning hours. But you don’t have to locate the Water Jar, or the radiant of the shower, to enjoy the Eta Aquarids. These meteors fly every which way across the sky, in front of numerous constellations

Three months until New Horizons catches up with Pluto. Stay tuned for a close up look at #134340 in the minor planet catalog.