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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Fri. May 1 - Venus is starting to move to the end of her performance as the brilliant evening star, slowly sinking lower toward the western horizon as the month progresses. If you have binoculars or a telescope this is an exciting time to observe our closest planetary neighbour since as it closes in toward Earth on its inner orbit it looms both larger and thinner becoming a dramatic fingernail paring crescent.

Mon. May 4 - The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will arrive this evening and will peak in the early morning hours tomorrow.  The Eta Aquarids do not count as one of the most prominent meteor showers, though they do make their mark in the southern hemisphere. Unfortunately this year the waxing gibbous Moon will flood out the fainter members. If you plan to give it a try, look to the southeastern pre-dawn sky to try to spot shower members radiating upwards from the vicinity of Aquarius' water jar.

Thurs. May 7 - This is Full Moon night. Luna, in her full splendor, will rise later than usual since she is placed deep in the southern sky between the stars of Scorpius and Libra. Around midnight our neighbour will illuminate the Okanagan's blossom filled apple orchards.

Tues. May 12 - Almost echoing its April grouping, the waning gibbous Moon will pose with Jupiter and Saturn low in the southeast sky before dawn begins to brighten the sky.

Wed. May 13 - Moving right along, the almost last quarter Moon moves toward Mars in the pre-dawn hours. After its complex dance with Jupiter and Saturn last month, notice how far the red planet has shuffled to the east of them now.

Thurs. May 14 - This is Last Quarter Moon night with our neatly divided neighbour hanging around to add a nice touch to the morning spring sky.

Fri. May 15 - As Venus becomes a thinner and thinner crescent, the enlarging sliver offers the challenge of being able to discern it with the naked eye, let alone binoculars.

Sat. May 16 - The waning crescent Moon will be in the vicinity of Neptune in the early morning hours. The tiny blue sphere of the Ice Giant will be less than the width of three fingers north of our neighbour.

Wed. May 20 - Providing a handy fingerpost to another outer planet, tonight the thinning crescent of the Moon will cozy up to Uranus. Look for the tiny pale green planet to the north of Luna.

Thurs. May 21 - This evening the stage will be taken over by the inner solar system. Venus, completing her role as the evening star, is using her faster inner orbit to catch up to Earth and will soon pass between us and Sun. Before this happens she will rendezvous with fleet Mercury which is tearing along its inner orbit and climbing higher into the evening sky. The pair will be only the width of a little finger apart. This action takes place at nightfall, just above the western horizon.

Fri. May 22- This is New Moon night, the heart of the dark sky period for deep sky observing and imaging. Due to the expansion of daylight hours however, the window for this activity is now only a matter of a few hours time.

Sat. May 23 - Attracted by the convivality, a very thin crescent Moon will join Venus and Mercury's party very low in the western sky just after sunset which will make the observation tricky. Mercury will be upper left of Venus which in turn will be upper right of Luna.

Tues. May 26 - Striding higher into the early evening sky, the enlarging crescent Moon will pose to the left of the constellation Gemini as darkness closes in.

Thurs. May 28 - Tonight the waxing crescent Moon will be seen as part of the constellation Leo's reversed question mark.

Sat. May 30 - This is First Quarter Moon night. As spring gives way to the full flush of summer, the neatly divided sphere will add a nice complement to evening Okanagan scenes.