Saturday, May 28, 2011

Events for the Week 5/30 to 6/4

An interesting week is in store for us this week!

Events for 5/30

While viewing Saturn tonight, is biggest (and brightest) satellite, Titan, will be about four ring-lengths east of the planet. For the 'planet dance' next morning: the moon (almost new), Venus, and Mars below the giant planet Jupiter will all be visible; Venus won't be seen unless on a level horizon.

Events for 5/31

Vega shines the brightest this week; you can't miss it! Look for the summer-triangle next to Lyra and Vega will be revealed for you to see. As well, 'galaxies of the great Virgo Cluster are numerous but not that bright as Messier objects go. Nevertheless, if you have a dark sky, even binoculars are enough for you to hunt for ten of them as very faint smudges west of Epsilon Virginis.' SkyandTelecope writes. 

Events for 6/1

Partial Solar Eclipse is on the way! If you can't view that (you'd have to be in the polar regions), Saturn will put on a show for you. Saturn will guide you to three stars: each special. Next to Saturn sits Porrima, and Spica lies in the south below them. Corvus, even more southern than Spica, lies below. Its uppermost, brightest star, Delta Corvus shines at magnitude three and 9.2. (Must be a binary...)

Events for 6/2

Saturn and Porrima have now become closer to one another. Precisely, they are 17 arcminutes next to another; as close as they will get. Something interesting: Saturn is only 76 light-minutes from Earth, while Porrima is 39 light-years in the background. 'That's more than a quarter million times farther away!' exclaims SkyandTelescope. [A light minute is how fast light travels every minute. A light year is how far it takes light to travel (in a straight line) in a year, used as a measure of distance.]

'Sunrays' (called Crepuscular rays) also may be viewed today at sunrise and sunset. A sunray is simply a ray of light streaming down in beams from a cloud.  "You need just the right conditions to see these rays. In order to see them, the clouds, the sun and you must all be in the right spot with respect to each other. Crepuscular means like twilight or dim. That’s a clue that this effect is normally seen before sunrise or just after sunset, when the sky is somewhat dark." the team at writes.

Events for 6/3

A beautiful crescent moon shines far below Castor Polux on a grand night (picture below). Only five percent of the moon should be shown from North America, while varying in the southern hemisphere. It's also a good idea to view this moon at an open horizon. The moon tends to hide behind houses and trees otherwise ...

Events for 6/4

EarthSky tells us a great deal of the moon's happenings over the next days. 
Depending on where you live worldwide, the moon will cross over into the constellation Cancer sometime tomorrow (Sunday, June 5) or on the day after (Monday, June 6). The sun, on the other hand, will be passing through Cancer from July 21 to August 10.

As darkness falls over North America tonight, the lunar disk will be about 11% illuminated in sunshine. That means we’ll see 11% of the moon’s daylight side and 89% of its nighttime side. However, if you were on the moon looking at Earth, you’d see the exact opposite. You’d see 89% of the Earth’s daylight side and 11% of its nighttime side. When we see a waxing crescent moon, someone on the moon would see a waning gibbous Earth.

Solar System Calendar for 5/30 - 6/5
30 May 2011 18:19:21 Conjunction of Mars with the Moon, 3.7°
31 May 2011 02:11:24 Conjunction of Venus with the Moon, 4.3°
31 May 2011 16:33:59 Conjunction of Mercury with the Moon, 3.7°
01 Jun 2011 02:41:38 Max. North Declination of Neptune, -11.6°
01 Jun 2011 21:02:37 New Moon, lunation 1094 begins
01 Jun 2011 21:16:04 Greatest Eclipse of Partial Solar Eclipse
02 Jun 2011 09:53:15 Max. South Declination of the Moon, 23.3°
02 Jun 2011 20:20:25 Descending Knot Passage of the Moon
03 Jun 2011 17:57:11 Neptune stationary: getting retrograde
Plant Positions for the week of 5/23 to 5/28
Mercury- lowest planet in the sky at dawn, sinking off the horizon...
Venus- brightest planet at dawn closest to the horizon
Mars- to the upper-left of Venus at dawn
Jupiter- Highest of all the dawn planets; second brightest
Saturn- magnitude 0.6 in Virgo; only planet really visible at night, the others are all around the time of dawn.
Uranus- mag 5.9 in western Pisces; very low in the east before dawn
Neptune- mag 7.9 in Aquarius, southeast before dawn
Pluto- mag 14 in Sagittarius, highest in the south before dawn  
Have a great viewing this week! 

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