Sky Report by Ted Gruber
You can still see Mars (magnitude 1.7) in the northwestern sky as darkness falls until it sets around 11:00pm (about an hour earlier by mid-June). About the time Mars sets, Jupiter (magnitude -2.6) rises in the southeast and remains visible overnight. Then about two hours later, Saturn (magnitude 0.4) rises and follows Jupiter across the overnight sky.
By the end of May, Mercury (magnitude -1.1) appears low over the west-northwest horizon about 30 minutes after sunset. Mercury climbs a bit higher and moves a little closer to Mars each evening. On June 4, a thin crescent moon appears roughly halfway between and slightly below Mercury and Mars. The two planets make their closest approach the evening of June 18, just 0.2° apart.
Jupiter and Saturn are also visible in the south-southwest early morning sky. In the overnight hours of May 20, the nearly full moon passes less than 2° north of Jupiter. Then on May 22 and 23, the moon passes just south of Saturn, again in the overnight hours. Look for Saturn east of the moon on May 22 and on the opposite side the following morning.
Venus (magnitude -3.9) rises in the east-northeast between 5:00am and 5:30am and remains visible until fading into the morning sunlight. On the morning of June 1, the moon appears 3° south of Venus.
Full (5/18), last (5/26), new (6/3), first (6/10), full (6/17), last (6/25).
Messier of the Month – M3
M3 is a magnitude 6.2 globular cluster in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is about 33,900 light years distant, contains around 500,000 stars, and has an estimated age of 8 billion years. M3 appears as a fuzzy patch through binoculars, smaller telescopes will reveal the cluster’s core, a 6” scope will resolve some outer stars, while an 8” or larger scope will resolve stars throughout the cluster except within the core.
Excerpt from the May 2019 FoG Newsletter
by Greg Smith
Our evening with the Middle schoolers and their parents and teachers was a great success. A success on a couple of levels; first, that we were fulfilling our mission as a club, bringing night sky education to the community, second seeing how many people attended and brought their own telescopes, third teaching them about the night sky and what they could see from their own backyards.
I was personally surprised how many families brought their own telescopes. Some of them were learning how to put them together, some were learning how to aim them, and some were even sharing what they could see with those around them.
The students and adults that came to our scopes got to see binary stars, galaxies and star clusters that they had heard about but had never seen for themselves. A few were asking about how expensive the telescopes that we were using were. One dad looked a bit disappointed at the price, but I asked him if he had a spotting scope for hunting. He said he did. I told him he already had a telescope and he would be able to see the rings of Saturn with it. He was surprised that he would be able to see that, with a sigh relief. He realized that a spotting scope was really a telescope that could be used for more than hunting. Star gazing and bird watching were other activities that could be done year round. He found out that his binoculars were great astronomy tools as well. Here was a father who realized he already had the tools needed to explore the night sky with his son.
Indeed the evening at Cascade Middle School was a great success. We will see at the next meeting if we get some new visitors.
Ted, Mark, Becky, Tom and I had a great time and I am sure we all look forward to the next time we get to share with a group like this again. Becky, I’m sure you were an encouragement to the girls that they too can get involved with astronomy.
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.