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Bruce McClure

May guide to the bright planets

Here’s how to find the bright planets – Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Mercury – in May 2018.

All you need to know: Eta Aquariid meteors

In 2018, the forecast calls for the greatest number of Eta Aquariid meteors to fall before dawn on May 5. Unfortunately, the waning gibbous moon will obscure the show, but perhaps a few of brighter Eta Aquariids can overcome the moonlight.

Moon, Antares, Jupiter May 1-2

Tonight’s moon is near the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. An even brighter planet, Jupiter, is nearby.

Moon and Jupiter meet in Libra

On April 30, 2018, enjoy the bright moon near Jupiter. Then let Jupiter guide you to Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, Libra’s 2 brightest stars.

Will you see Mercury before sunrise?

From the Southern Hemisphere, these next weeks are your best opportunity of 2018 to spot the sun’s innermost planet, Mercury. From the Northern Hemisphere … not so much.

Moon near Spica on April 27 and 28

Spica, in the constellation Virgo, is one of our sky’s brightest stars. An even brighter object will be nearby, the planet Jupiter.

April 26 moon near Spica and celestial equator

Just as earthly coordinates help travelers, so celestial coordinates guide sky explorers. Tonight, meet Earth’s celestial equator … simply Earth’s equator projected onto the great dome of sky.

A word about the moon’s distance tonight

The moon was closest to Earth April 20. It’ll be farthest from Earth May 6. Tonight’s moon is closer to its average distance from Earth.

Moon sweeps through Leo the Lion April 23 to 25

The waxing gibbous moon moves toward Leo’s brightest star Regulus, then passes it. It’s a good time to identify this easy-to-find constellation.

Lyrid meteors before dawn April 23?

Will you see Lyrid meteors Monday morning? Maybe! The shower’s peak has passed by Monday, but some meteors may still be flying.

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