Might Evening Sky 2019 – Astronotes

May 7, 2019 - Comment

There’s heaps to sit up for within the Month of Might: the evenings are brighter, there’s the promise of fine climate and most significantly – not one, however two financial institution vacation weekends! There’s additionally heaps to sit up for and look out for in Might’s night time sky. There’s the prospect to see a


There’s heaps to sit up for within the Month of Might: the evenings are brighter, there’s the promise of fine climate and most significantly – not one, however two financial institution vacation weekends! There’s additionally heaps to sit up for and look out for in Might’s night time sky. There’s the prospect to see a fantastic meteor bathe, and the planets Mars and Mercury make dazzling appearances over the course of the month.

We begin the month with a lot pleasure as on the night time of
the fifth/sixth Might we should always be capable of see capturing stars from the Eta Aquarid
meteor bathe fly throughout the sky. These are tiny items shed by Halley’s Comet
burning up within the Earth’s Environment. Within the Northern Hemisphere, the bathe
can produce as much as 30 meteors per hour. This present of meteors is greatest seen from
a darkish location after midnight. The skinny crescent moon units early within the
night so visibility needs to be good.

Picture taken of Halley’s Comet in 1986. Credit score: NASA

Within the night sky, Mars has the highlight because it goes beneath the horizon, setting round midnight. Within the night time sky, Mars seems with a distinctly purple color, which is obvious even to the unaided eye. That is the results of a excessive abundance of iron oxide – higher generally known as rust – in its soil. By means of a telescope it’s best to be capable of see its shiny icy polar caps and among the markings on the floor of Mars. On the eighth Might, the Moon and Mars will make a detailed strategy, passing inside three°12′ of one another. The Moon might be four days previous. The Moon might be at magazine -10.2, and Mars at magazine 1.7, each within the constellation Taurus.

Mercury
steals Mars’ limelight on the finish of the month. Throughout the previous couple of days of
Might, Mercury seems above the horizon within the north-west. As Mercury is the
closest planet to the Solar, it seems low down on the horizon.  Wait till the Solar is totally beneath the
horizon when viewing Mercury by means of binoculars, to keep away from the chance of damaging
your eyes.

Virgo Cluster. Credit score: NASA

Now
let’s take a more in-depth take a look at among the constellations that may be noticed
throughout Might. First up, now we have the most important constellation within the night time sky which
additionally represents the Goddess of Corn and Agriculture. That’s, after all, Virgo
the Maiden! Look in the direction of the higher area of the ‘bowl’ of the Y form and
you’ll discover it’s crammed with faint, fussy blobs. These are only a few
of the 2000 galaxies that make up the well-known Virgo Cluster. Galaxies will not be
objects discovered by themselves. As a substitute they collect collectively in teams, generally
in pairs and generally in clusters such because the Virgo Cluster. This cluster is
generally known as an irregular cluster due to its sprawling form and though it’s
dominated by three big elliptical galaxies, most of its brighter members are
spiral galaxies.


Bootes, Canes Venatici and Coma Berenices. Stellarium

We
can use the curve of the ploughs deal with to assist us discover our subsequent stars and
constellations. In the event you comply with the curve of the plough’s deal with you’ll find yourself
on the shiny, purple star, Arcturus. This shiny star varieties the knee of Bootes
the Herdsman. Whenever you be part of up the entire stars within the constellation it seems to be a
bit like a kite flying within the night time sky! Canes Venatici (Bootes’ Looking Canine)
border the Herdsman, able to comply with their grasp on a hunt. Though not very
well-known, inside Canes Venatici, we will discover M51 or the Whirlpool Galaxy.
This galaxy is of curiosity to us right here on the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
because the Earl of Rosse, who found this galaxy, labored very intently with the
third Director of Observatory, Rodney Robinson. We are able to additionally spot a
globular cluster known as M3 inside Canes Venatici. It’s roughly 34,000
light-years away and may be simply seen with a telescope.

image of BootesBootes, Canes Venetici and Coma Berenices as seen within the early 1800s. Word the misplaced constellation of Quadrans Muralis. (Picture: © Ian Ridpath)

Final however not least, now we have the constellation and story of
Coma Berenices (Berenices’ Hair). Search for three stars that make a kind of proper
angle simply above Virgo and to the correct of Coma Berenices. That is the one
constellation that represents an actual individual. Queen Berenice was the attractive
spouse of the King of Egypt. She struck a take care of the Goddess of Love,
Aphrodite; if her husband returned safely from battle, Berenice would lower off her
hair. Her husband returned safely and true to her phrase, Berenice lower off her
hair and positioned it within the temple. To their horror, the hair was stolen that
night time. Fortunately the court docket astronomer satisfied them that Aphrodite was so
happy with the sacrifice that she had positioned Berenices hair within the heavens.

From meteor showers to galaxy clusters and from whirlpool galaxies to sacrificing the hairs in your head – there’s loads to see within the night time sky this Might! Completely satisfied Stargazing of us!

By Training Officer, Helen McLoughlin



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