Sky Report, May - June 2019
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.
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