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

The following tips on exciting 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 - The innermost planet Mercury will shine in the west- northwestern sky for the first half of this month. Venus will help you find it tonight by looking to its lower right. Joining the scene will be the Pleiades to the right of Venus.

Fri. May 1 - Spica, the brightest star of the constellation Virgo appears a bit more than the width of your three middle fingers from the almost full Moon.

Sun May 3 - This is Full Moon night with our fully illuminated partner rising in the early evening to brighten a prime spring night. A dramatic picture of the rising Full Moon below was taken by Jim Failes.

Mon. May 4 - The just past full Moon passes about the width of three middle fingers from the ringed planet Saturn in the southeast sky tonight.

Tues. May  5 - 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, at least from our latitude, and this year the just past full Moon will not help, however it might be worthwhile to look to the southeastern pre-dawn sky to spot shower members radiating upwards from the vicinity of Aquarius' water jar.

Thurs. May 7 - For those enjoying the opportunity of spying elusive Mercury under favourable evening conditions, tonight marks its greatest eastern elongation away from the Sun. The picture of Mercury poised above a hillside below was taken by Jim Failes.

Mon. May 11 - The swiftly diminishing Moon is already at last quarter tonight. After rising after midnight the half lit sphere will welcome the new day high in the morning sky.

Thurs. May 14 - We often look to see what a slightly larger full Moon looks like at the closest point of its orbit. Tonight the Moon is at perigee, however this time it sports a waning crescent phase. Does it look larger to you?

Mon. May 18 - This is New Moon night when our companion is totally out of the way, marking the midpoint of the ten or so odd days of the dark Moon period much loved by deep sky sketchers, imagers and observers.

Tues. May 19 - The very young crescent Moon is about to slide under Mercury in the course of the night. Why not catch them before they set tonight? The following picture of Mercury with a young crescent Moon was taken by Jim Failes.

Thurs. May 21 - This evening the waxing crescent Moon will appear to the lower left of brilliant Venus in the western evening sky. Jim Failes captured the picture below of Venus and the crescent Moon.

Fri. May 22 - While Jupiter has been taking the spotlight so far this spring, Saturn has been climbing higher into the night sky. Tonight it reaches its greatest brightness. Through a telescope the beautifully open rings will span over 42 arc seconds… not far short of the apparent width of Jupiter. Below is a picture of Saturn in the constellation Scorpius which was taken by Jim Failes.

Sat. May 23 - Jupiter is very much part of the evening sky and tonight the crescent Moon will pass below it creating a bright evening celestial pairing. The picture below taken by Jim Failes shows a similar scene.

Mon. May 25 - This is First Quarter Moon night and to celebrate, our companion passes just below Regulus at the bottom of the reverse question mark in Leo.

Wed. May 27 - The antics of Jupiter's moons are like a television series. In tonight's episode you will find a special double shadow transit taking place between 7pm and 9.18pm. The shadows will belong to Ganymede and Io, and if you watch closely they will approach and merge on the disk at 8.38pm. At the same time Ganymede will eclipse Io off to the left side of the Jovian disk. Quite a show! Below is a picture of Jupiter with its retinue of Galilean moons which was taken by Jim Failes.

Sat. May 30 - The almost full Moon will make it a bit of a challenge to spot even bright Spica to its lower left tonight.