Southern Cross Stargazer for May 19-25, 2013



In the evening dusk, look to the northwest where a rare line-up of planets glisten in Taurus, the Bull, near the horizon: bright Jupiter (top), brilliant Venus (middle) and Mercury (bottom). They set early. The Gemini Twins Castor and Pollux stand on the northwest horizon. Capella guides Auriga, the Charioteer, on the right of the Twins. The dim Beehive star cluster (200 stars) follows the Twins. Leo, the Lion, crawls westward.

Procyon, Orion’s Little Dog, twinkles low in the west. Brilliant blue Sirius (nearby star) sparkles in the southwest and sets by mid-evening. Corvus, the Crow, flies ahead of Spica in Virgo in the south. The stunning globular star cluster Omega Centauri shimmers low in the south, below Corvus. Silver Saturn, encircled by its icy rings, drifts into Virgo in the south. Bright Arcturus rises higher in the east.

The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Its bowl always faces Polaris, the North Star. The tip of the Little Dipper’s handle is Polaris. By mid-evening, Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, higher in the northeast. Huge Scorpius peers over the southeastern horizon.


Tonight the bright moon floats between Saturn (left) and Spica (right).


About 3 a.m. dim Neptune rises in the southeast in Aquarius. Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune. Before dawn, blue-green Uranus appears in the southeast in Pisces, the Fish. Pegasus, the Winged Horse, climbs higher in the east. Westbound Hercules leads Vega and the vast Summer Triangle overhead. Scorpius crawls lower in the southwest, followed by the Sagittarian Teapot. The Summer Milky Way (River of Stars) arches from the Teapot to the Triangle. Capricornus, the Sea Goat, wanders across the south.


Mid-evening, the bright full moon leads Scorpius above the southeastern horizon.


The Blossom Moon is full at 12:25 a.m. By nightfall, brilliant Venus, the Evening Star, dances with Mercury 1.5 degrees apart, 3 degrees below descending Jupiter near the northwestern horizon. Stunning views in binoculars and cameras! They set early.

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375,

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