Fri., May 25 5:13 8:03
Sat., May 26 5:13 8:04
Sun., May 27 5:12 8:05
Mon., May 28 5:11 8:06
Tues., May 29 5:11 8:06
Wed., May 30 5:10 8:07
Thurs., May 31 5:10 8:08
Fri., June 1 5:09 8:09
This weekend we’ll find the crescent moon high in the southwestern sky after sunset. It meets up with the red planet Mars on Tuesday night and Saturn on Thursday night.
Tonight, the moon is in the zodiacal constellation Cancer. It appears above and in proximity to the large star cluster called The Beehive. This star cluster appears many times bigger than the moon. It is one of the largest and closest of star clusters. While the brilliance of the moon will interfere with seeing most of the faint stars, use this opportunity to familiarize yourself with its stellar neighborhood in that area of the sky. A pair of binoculars helps. The star cluster is over 500 light years away, which means it takes at least that long for light to reach us.
The first quarter moon appears higher in the western sky by Tuesday night and is in the zodiacal constellation Leo. The moon is near the bright red planet Mars. Even though Mars has lost much of its brilliance from earlier in the year, it is still an easy planet to spot.
Mars is also near Regulus, a star that is bright and the principal star in Leo. So together with the moon, Mars and Regulus, these three objects form an elongated triangle.
By Thursday night the gibbous moon has moved far enough along the zodiac to appear in the constellation Virgo near the ringed-planet Saturn. Saturn is near the bright star Spica, the principal star in Virgo. There is another opportunity to draw a triangle: Saturn, Spica and the moon.