April 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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The night sky this week

The night sky this week

Every Monday, I pick out the celestial highlights in the northern hemisphere (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but make sure Check out my main feed For more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses, and more.

What to see in the night sky this week: May 15-21, 2023

This week is arguably the best for stargazing during May 2023. Why? It’s the new moon, which means dark night skies all week. The perfect time to plan a stargazing trip or event – or just a session in your own backyard. Arguably, however, the most enticing spectacle all this week will be a waning crescent moon alongside giant Jupiter — and if you’re in the right place on our planet, you’ll see Jupiter disappear behind the moon.

Wednesday, May 17: Jupiter obscured by the moon

Wherever you are in the world, make an effort to get up an hour before sunrise, and look east. You’ll see a thin, luminous crescent of about 6% collide with Jupiter. This would be a really nice site. However, if you’re in Canada, the contiguous United States, Mexico, Greenland, northern Scandinavia, or northern the United Kingdom, you might also be able to see the mysterious crescent moon – or eclipse – of the giant planet. Your specific location greatly affects what you’ll be able to see and when you’ll be able to see it, so Punch in your site to In-The-Sky.org for exact timing.

Wednesday, May 17: Axiom 2 launch

Today at 7:34 PM EST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Axiom-2 mission – the second privately funded mission to the International Space Station – is scheduled to launch. It will be led by former NASA astronaut Peggy Watson as well as two astronauts from Saudi Arabia.

See also  NASA announces the launch date of the mission

Friday, May 19: New Moon

11:53 a.m. EST today is every moth stargazer’s favorite moment – the new moon. This lunar phase, which sees our natural satellite roughly in space between Earth and the sun, means the night sky is completely devoid of moonlight. This makes tonight the best month for stargazing, although practically the entire week is excellent.

Sunday, May 21: Crescent Moon, Venus and Mars

Look at the western sky after sunset today with the intention of finding a very thin crescent moon. You may need to use a speculum. It would be a pretty sight on its own, but while you’re looking up, also check out the bright Venus and darker Mars above it.

Constellation of the week: Ursa Major ‘The Great Bear’

Many stargazers mistake it for Ursa Major. Google it and you’ll be told it’s just another name for the Big Dipper. it’s not! The Big Dipper is located inside Ursa Major, but it is only part of it. Ursa Major means “great bear” and the Big Dipper is just the back of the animal.

Try to find this massive constellation—it’s rising high in the sky this month (so you’ll need to forward the image above)—and you’ll be forever known as one of the most famous, yet least known, constellations of the Northern Hemisphere.

Goal of the week: Mizar and Alcor

Find the second star from the top handle of the constellation Ursa Major within the constellation Ursa Major and you will soon realize that you are actually looking at two stars – Mizar and Alcor. Known as “the horse and rider” by some cultures, the ability to split them apart with the naked eye was used as a test of eyesight.

Mizar and Alcor are not related to each other, but each are their own multiple star systems. The larger Mizar is actually a star system with four stars all gravitationally bound while the smaller Alcor is two stars.

Specific times and dates apply to mid-northern latitudes. For the most accurate location-specific information, consult online planetariums eg Stellarium And Sky Live. check Planet Rising / Planetary GroupAnd sunset Sunrise And Moonrise/moonset times for your location.

I wish you clear skies and wide eyes.

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