- April 30 & May 1: The waning crescent Moon joins the morning planet line-up - simulated April 30 sky views for Australia and later California and the view on May 1 for Germany. On May 1 Mars is 21' north of Jupiter.
- Around May 3: Possible 12 mag. peak of Supernova 2011by in NGC 3972 in UMa; here are the Chinese discovery picture and a color view.
- May 6: Peak of the Eta Aquarids, like the planet show something great only for Southern observers.
- May 8: Mercury 1.5° south of Venus.
- May 11: Mercury 2° south of Jupiter and Venus 34' south of Jupiter (thus a planet trio).
- May 18: Mercury 1.3° south of Venus.
- May 21: Mercury 2° south of Mars.
- May 23: Venus 1° south of Mars (another planet trio, with Mercury).
- May 31: The Moon is once more close to the morning planets.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Four planets (and the Moon) in action in the May morning sky - and a nice supernova!
While the play of the planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars & Jupiter - is best seen from moderate Northern and esp. Southern latitudes, the supernova in the Big Dipper is ideally placed for Northerners. It was discovered very early, at 14th magnitude, and could rise to 12th - which would be pretty rare - during the coming week. Of all planets still only Saturn (a nice April 19 pic and several of the ongoing storm) is easily seen from everywhere, while the other four naked eye planets are so close to and west of the Sun that you need a either a steep ecliptic (like in this Australian view from April 26) or binoculars to see them and esp. the various conjunctions of between them, listed below. Some key dates: