#astronomy The Evening Sky in Could 2021 – Astronotes

May 1, 2021 - Comment

The month of Could has lastly arrived, and you recognize what the means, spring has sprung! The days are longer and brighter, the promise of hotter climate and (most significantly) there’s not one, however two financial institution vacation weekends! If you’re something like me, you’ll be performing some stargazing. However, what precisely is there to look out for this month? Effectively, let me inform you.  Early this Could you’re in for a deal


The month of Could has lastly arrived, and you recognize what the means, spring has sprung! The days are longer and brighter, the promise of hotter climate and (most significantly) there’s not one, however two financial institution vacation weekends! If you’re something like me, you’ll be performing some stargazing. However, what precisely is there to look out for this month? Effectively, let me inform you. 

Early this Could you’re in for a deal with as it’s doable to see capturing stars from the Eta Aquarids meteor bathe. They’ll peak between midnight and daybreak on sixth Could radiating from an japanese route low down on the horizon. Meteors are the leftover comet fragments and bits from damaged asteroids, and at sure occasions of the yr the Earth passes via these particles trails. This permits the bits to collide with our ambiance the place they disintegrate to create fiery streaks throughout the sky.  

A close up of a speedometer

Description automatically generated with low confidenceSpectacular picture of the Eta Aquarid meteor bathe in 2013. Picture Credit score: NASA 

The Eta Aquarids meteor bathe is a reasonably lively bathe related to Hailey Comet producing as much as 30 meteor per hour and is finest considered from a darkish location. Like most meteor showers, the identify comes from the constellation they seem to radiate from; on this case the constellation Aquarius. Extra particularly it’s named after the brightest star within the constellation of Aquarius, Eta Aquarri. So, right here’s hoping the climate is favorable and let’s hold our eyes peeled for some capturing stars! 

Evening sky view of the Plough, Boötes the Herdsman and Virgo the Maiden. Credit score: Stellarium  

Now allow us to flip our consideration to the constellations! Utilizing the Plough we will use it to find our first shiny star within the constellation of Boötes, pronounced boo-oh-tes (that means herdsman). Merely think about extending the curve of the Plough’s deal with downwards till you come to an excellent ‘orange’ star, this star is named Arcturus, so keep in mind that you must “arc to Arcturus”. While you be part of up all the celebrities in Boötes it resembles a kite flying within the evening sky! Arcturus is a purple big star and the 4th brightest star within the evening sky making it very simple to establish. Arcturus was considered like our Solar however has now handed the principle sequence interval of its lifespan, as an alternative of fusing hydrogen like our solar, Arctutus is now fusing helium in its core, inflicting it to increase. 

A picture containing indoor

Description automatically generatedLocation of the Whirlpool Galaxy within the boundary of Canes Venatici high left-hand aspect. Credit score: Stellarium 

Shifting throughout the sky we come to the constellation of Canes Venatici, who are Boötes’ looking canine. Though not very well-known and solely made up of two stars, inside Canis Venatici we will discover M51 or the Whirlpool Galaxy. In 1845 Irish astronomer William Parsons whereas utilizing the 72-inch reflecting telescope at Birr Fortress Co Offlay was the primary to find the spiral nature of this “nebulae”. It was not till the 1920’s that astronomers understood that these “spiral nebulae” have been really distant galaxies. So, not solely does the Whirlpool Galaxy have a hyperlink to Eire, however it was additionally the very first spiral galaxy to be recognized. 

The Whirlpool Galaxy is estimated to have over 100 billion stars. (Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the Hubble Heritage Workforce) 

Coming again to Arcturus as soon as extra, think about drawing a straight line downwards to assist us discover a good blue-white star. This star is named Spica, so bear in mind you must “spike to Spica”. Spica is discovered within the constellation of Virgo the Maiden who represents the Goddess of Corn and Agriculture and though not make up of many shiny stars, Virgo makes up for it in galaxies. Look in direction of the higher area of the ‘bowl’ of the Y form within the constellation of Virgo and right here is a good place to discover galaxies. That is the place you’ll find the Virgo Cluster, there are roughly 2000 galaxies on this cluster and astronomers estimate that it covers a complete quantity of area with a diameter of 15 million light-years throughout. Though for the most effective viewing you have to a superb telescope to identify these superb constructions!  

A group of stars in space

Description automatically generated with low confidenceVirgo Cluster Galaxies. Picture Credit score & Copyright: Fernando Pena 

On the finish of the Could we’re additionally handled to a full Moon, referred to as the Flower moon. In lots of cultures it known as the Flower Moon because of the abundance of blooming flowers as we come into the springtime. This full moon nonetheless is not your common full moon however a ‘supermoon’ that means that it’s going to seem a little brighter and bigger within the sky than regular. This occurs when the total moon coincides with the moon’s closest method to Earth in its orbit, making this the right alternative to get the telescope out and do some moongazing, and see for those who can spot some craters!  

A close up of the moon

Description automatically generatedPicture Credit score:  ESA 

So, there we’ve it for an additional month, the evening sky is stuffed with objects to see and marvel at, comfortable stargazing everybody!  



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