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What's Up this week 27th May - 2nd June


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Taken from "Astronomy" magazine and tweaked a bit for the UK.


The Sky This Week:

Monday, May 27
Venus and Jupiter appear side by side in this evening’s sky, with brighter Venus to the giant planet’s right. And don’t forget Mercury, which this evening lies directly above the other two. The separation among the three has increased only slightly (by 0.1°) since yesterday.

Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) continues to dim this week, and you’ll need a telescope to follow its trek back into the solar system’s depths. Fortunately, its position near Polaris — it currently stands some 5° from the 2nd-magnitude Pole Star — means that it remains on view all night for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. Tonight and tomorrow night, the comet’s orbital plane tilts edge-on to our line of sight, which will cause its dust tail to appear dense and straight.

Tuesday, May 28
Venus and Jupiter appear closest together during twilight this evening. The two brightest planets will look stunning with naked eyes or binoculars as Jupiter slides 1.0° south (to the lower left) of its companion. The pair won’t appear this close again until August 2014.

Wednesday, May 29
The separation of the three evening planets grows to 5° tonight, bringing to a close this year’s most spectacular series of planetary conjunctions. Venus lies directly above Jupiter and Mercury appears to Venus’ upper left. During the next few weeks, Jupiter will drop into the Sun’s glare while Mercury and Venus continue to shadow each other. The two inner planets will have another conjunction June 20.

Thursday, May 30
You don’t need a telescope to view some attractive spring galaxies, but you will need a very good dark site. With 10x50 binoculars in hand, scan about 3° southeast of 3rd-magnitude Theta (θ) Leonis, the star that marks the right angle corner of Leo the Lion’s hindquarters. There you’ll spy the pair of spiral galaxies cataloged as M65 and M66. Just 0.6° north of this duo lies a third spiral, NGC 3628, but you’ll need 15x70 binoculars to locate it. This group of three galaxies is known as the Leo Triplet.

Friday, May 31
Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter, from top to bottom, spread out along a 7°-long straight line in evening twilight.

Last Quarter Moon occurs at 7:58 p.m. When it rises around 1:30 a.m. local time tomorrow morning, it will appear slightly less than half-lit. Earth’s only natural satellite then appears against the background stars of western Pisces.

Saturday, June 1
Tonight offers a good opportunity to track down asteroid 1 Ceres. The solar system’s largest asteroid — it’s so big, in fact, that astronomers now also classify it as a “dwarf planet†— lies about 2° west of 1st-magnitude Pollux and less than 1° due north of the 4th-magnitude star Upsilon (υ) Geminorum. This region stands about 15° high in the west-northwest at the end of evening twilight. You’ll need a telescope to spot 9th-magnitude Ceres. To confirm your sighting, sketch the field and return to it a night or two later. The object that moved is the asteroid.

Sunday, June 2
Although Saturn reached opposition at the end of April, it still looks spectacular. It lies among the background stars of eastern Virgo and reaches its peak in the south around 10:30 p.m. The planet shines at magnitude 0.3, noticeably brighter than Virgo’s brightest star, Spica, which lies 13° west of the planet. When viewed through a telescope, Saturn’s globe measures 18" across while the rings span 42" and tilt 17° to our line of sight.




I'm going to attempt to remember to do this each week from now on :)


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Guest Tinkerbell

Great work mike! If only we had the time, energy and clear skies to do this more frequently! But at least I had a good night at wymeswold on sunday!

Again, thanks for your hard work, and look forward to any future write-ups of the week ahead.

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Most of it is copy and paste to be honest with the odd bit altered (times mostly) and bits taken out and added for the UK rather than the States. I hope to try and do it each week, the first hurdle is remembering to do it :lol:

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