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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.

Thurs. May 2 – Just before dawn this morning, brilliant Venus will rise in the southeast accompanied by a very thin crescent Moon to its lower right.

Sat. May 4 – This is New Moon night, the heart of the dark sky period offering deep sky adventures for observers and imagers.

Sun. 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, though they do make their mark in the southern hemisphere. This year the Moon will not be a factor so it should be worth the effort given clear Okanagan skies. Look to the southeastern pre-dawn sky to spot shower members radiating upwards from the vicinity of Aquarius' water jar.

Mon. May 6 – The very thin waxing crescent Moon will rise in the vicinity of Aldebaran in Taurus low in the west this evening. Fading Mars will be to the upper right to add drama to the evening scene.

Fri. May 10 – In preparation for its approaching first quarter phase, our neighbour will cozy up to the Beehive star cluster this evening. Messier 44 is one of the nearest open star clusters to Earth, offering tantalizing views through binoculars or a telescope.

Sat. May 11 – The waxing Moon will spend two nights in the vicinity of bright Regulus in Leo, the signature constellation of spring evenings with its familiar reversed question mark asterism.

Sun. May 12 – This is First Quarter Moon night with the neatly divided lunar sphere inviting telescope exploration along its intricate side-lit terminator.

Sat. May 18 – The pre-dawn sky will offer Venus a chance to play tour guide to the ice giant Uranus. Look for the outer greenish planet about three moon widths below our brilliant neighbour.

Sat. May 18 – This is Full Moon night when many people look forward to seeing the full lit lunar disk rise over the eastern mountains after sunset, and then climb high in the sky to illuminate the Okanagan spring scenes below.

Sun. May 19 – As Mars continues to move lower down toward the western horizon, this evening it will be in the vicinity of M35, the attractive open cluster in Gemini.

Sun. May 19 – For those who enjoy seeing patterns in the sky, the just past full Moon will ‘join hands’ with equidistantly placed Antares and brilliant Jupiter to form a broad celestial triangle. Though by far the most distant object of the three, Antares is able to hold its own from 550 light years away since it is a red supergiant star whose outer surface would reach to between Mars and Jupiter if it replaced the Sun.

Mon. May 20 – The waning gibbous Moon is having a closer look at Jupiter, approaching to within the width of three fingers from the gas giant from our point of view.

Wed. May 22 – Tonight the Moon will appear just south of the ringed planet Saturn.

Sun. May 26 – This is Last Quarter Moon night, heralding the approach of the next dark moon period. It’s time to plan dark sky targets for observing and imaging when clear skies materialize.

Mon. May 27 – Moving eastward in the early morning hours, tonight the waning crescent Moon will visit the neighbourhood of the outer ice giant Neptune. Less than the width of three fingers will separate them.  

Tues. May 28 – 1 Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, reaches opposition tonight. Ceres is the only asteroid to be designated as a dwarf planet since it is unique in being large enough to attain a spherical shape due to hydrodynamic equilibrium. Being an asteroid, it is still at the limit of naked eye visiblity near 7th magnitude so it will take binoculars or a telescope to positively identify it. This interesting object is located about the width of a fist held at arm’s length north of bright Antares in Scorpius, however a finder chart will be needed to definitely identify it, such as the one found here: https://in-the-sky.org/findercharts/11ceres_2019_1.png

Fri. May 31 – Moving along to another planetary encounter, the thin waning crescent Moon will be about the width of three fingers below the tiny disk of the pale green ice giant Uranus tonight.