Welcome to an absolutely astounding month for sky watching. Not only do we have the Magic Half Hour in prime time, there’s a rare four-planet conjunction in the early morning sky that will go on all month. You’ll be able to see a total of six (maybe 7?) visible planets. Saturn is in our early evening sky and to see the sixth one, just look at your feet! I’ll be sending out weekly updates on the conjunction. The best time to see it all month is 5:00 to 5:15 a.m.
Watch the sky every morning because the planets will change position every day. Don’t miss this amazing conjunction. It’ll be a while before you see another one like this!
1. The conjunction this week.
2. Planetarium public shows 12, 13 and 14 May
This week’s conjunction news:
Although all four planets are already in the early morning sky, Jupiter and Mars will be very close to the eastern horizon and you’ll need an unobstructed view. Tomorrow and Thursday (4 and 5 May) Mars will be very close to Jupiter and Venus and Mercury will be close together above them.
Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon and it will be the easiest planet to locate and identify all month. This week it will be a fist-width above the eastern horizon at 5:15 a.m.
This week, you may have a golden opportunity. If you have a good pair of binoculars, scan the area two finger-widths to the right of Venus and a fist-width above her. Although it may be already be too light, if you scan the area and discover a lime green star; you’ll have just found your fifth planet, Uranus and you will have the possibly unique opportunity to see seven of the eight planets in a single day. If you manage to see Uranus and the other four, e-mail me and let me know!
By Saturday morning, Venus and Mercury will be quite close together (less than a degree will separate them) and Jupiter will be drawing away from Mars and getting closer to Venus and Mercury. Mars will be much fainter than the other three planets (Venus -3.7, Mercury 0.62, Jupiter -1.91 and Mars 1.26) and harder to see, but it will be distinctly red which should help. Mars will get higher above the horizon as the month progresses, making it easier to see.
Do try to see this conjunction. Show it to your kids and watch the planets dance all month!
2. THE MAGIC HALF HOUR
Planetarium Public Shows
12, 13 and 14 May
Public shows are NEXT weekend and once again we’ll feature the wonderful show “The Magic Half Hour”. In Guam in April and May, you can see eight of the ten brightest stars, 15 of the 20 brightest stars, the largest and smallest constellations and the three most famous constellations ALL AT THE SAME TIME! This is only possible in the equatorial tropics.
The Planetarium doors open at 6:00 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m. you’ll see the Planetarium show “The Magic Half Hour”. Then at 7:00 p.m., we’ll have “Quality Time with the Star Lady” where I answer your questions until it gets dark enough to go outside and find all that stuff in the real sky.
And since the Magic Half Hour occurs between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. next week, we’ll see most of it.
You’ll get the Magic Half Hour star chart and I’ll also have information about the ongoing four-planet conjunction in the early morning sky. But your best source of information about that event is this newsletter.
May’s skies are awesome!! Don’t miss any of it!