SCAS – Southern Colorado Skies / May 8 – 14, 2016

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available, and a very good program (Cartes du Ciel) is available free at http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/start.

THIS WEEK

Sagittarius, Scorpius and the Milky Way form a magnificent view of the sky starting later in the evening and continuing until daybreak. I took a couple photos (one very wide-angle) a few mornings ago from here in Pueblo West, and present them below (click on the photo for a larger view). As usual I show two of each photo: one with just the night sky and then the same photo with constellation lines. I hope these photos help and encourage you to have a look for yourself!

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Monday (May 9)

Mercury crosses the face of the Sun this morning – if you watch BE SURE TO USE PROPER FILTERS! If not, you can watch it “livestream” at http://livestream.com/SkyandTelescope/Mercury.

BEGIN 5:12 a.m. MDT (sunrise not until 5:51 a.m.)

MIDPOINT 8:58 a.m.

END 12:42 p.m.

Wednesday (May 11)

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter will be on its central meridian about 8:48 p.m. MDT.

Saturday (May 14)

The Moon and Jupiter will be close to each other in Leo (the lion) tonight. While you’re outside, take a look at very bright Mars low in the southeast just after dark.

PLANETS

Mercury (in Aries)

Lost in the glow of the Sun. Mercury transits the Sun on Monday, May 9th – see above.

Venus (in Aries)

Lost in the glow of the Sun.

Mars (in Scorpius)

Mars rises right after twilight, and is now Magnitude -1.7 (not quite as bright as Jupiter). Mars is now closer to Earth than it has been in the past ten years, and is now about 17 arc-seconds in diameter – close to its maximum 18.6 arc-seconds later this month as it reaches opposition. A great view in even small telescopes – have a look!

Jupiter (in Leo)

Jupiter is high and bright in the south after dark and sets before sunrise.

Saturn (in Ophiuchus)

Located in the “legs” of Ophiuchus just above Scorpius, Saturn rises about a half hour after Mars. Mars, Saturn and Antares form an interesting sky triangle!

Uranus (in Pisces)

The gas giant is lost in the glare of the Sun.

Neptune (in Aquarius)

Very low at daybreak. Look to the east-southeast.

IRIDIUM FLARES AND INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

Sorry – these are too numerous to list here! If you’re serious, load the ISS DETECTOR app on your smart phone or tablet. Alternatively, refer to SCAS member Chuck Percival’s column in the Sunday Pueblo Chieftain.

Have fun!

Dave Furry, SCAS Director of Education

SCAS rework Logo 3 Color copy

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