Southern Cross Stargazer for May 25-31
05/24/2014 12:00 AM
05/23/2014 11:36 AM
Before 6 a.m., early risers will see a beautiful celestial pair 2 degrees apart in the east. Aim binoculars/cameras to the crescent moon rising atop brilliant Venus, the Morning Star, against a pastel dawn. Blue-green Uranus lies near the left of Venus. Dim blue Neptune sails across the southeast in Aquarius.
Fomalhaut twinkles low in the southeast. Silver Saturn drifts low in the southwest in Libra. Huge Scorpius crawls across the southwest. The Sagittarian Teapot closely follows Scorpius. Capricornus, the Sea Goat, wanders into the south. Pegasus, the Winged Horse, rises higher in the east. Westbound Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle overhead. Cygnus, the Swan, soars within the Triangle. Queen Cassiopeia awakens in the north-northeast.
New Moon occurs at 2:40 p.m.
By 8:30 p.m. focus binoculars on the young crescent moon near the west-northwestern horizon directly below Mercury. Bright Jupiter glows below the Gemini Twins in the west.
The dim Beehive star cluster shimmers to the left of the Twins. Capella guides Auriga, the Charioteer, lower in the northwest. Procyon, the Little Dog, trots lower in the west. Leo, the Lion, crawls westward. Bright Arcturus, the Herdsman, sparkles in the east beyond the tip of the Big Dipper’s handle. The Dipper’s bowl always faces Polaris, the North Star. Polaris marks the tip of the Little Dipper’s handle. Fiery Mars glows high in the east in Virgo. Spica follows Mars. Corvus, the Crow, flies across the south.
Omega Centauri, a famous compact star cluster filled with a million stars, lies low in the south directly below Corvus. Saturn appears in the east encased in sunlit icy rings. About 10 p.m., huge Scorpius peers over the southeastern horizon. Antares, a red supergiant known as the heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso. Vega brings the Summer Triangle above the northeastern horizon.
At dusk the crescent moon with dark Earthshine glows 7 degrees below bright Jupiter in the west.
SCAS Astros will hold an open house from dusk to 11 p.m. at the D’Auria Observatory, 23325 SW 217th Ave., Homestead. High-tech equipment will focus on the evening planets: Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
A Mars Watch is planned at Bill Sadowski Park on Southwest 176th Street west of Old Cutler Road in Palmetto Bay. Bring chairs, binoculars and bug repellant, and wear jeans. No lights, litter, alcohol or pets at either site.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org
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