May Skies 2013
May does not enjoy the brilliant stars of winter, nor the summer views of the Milky Way, however, Leo the Lion is high in the south, located by finding the “backwards question mark” that forms his head, mane, and shoulders. High in the north, the Big Dipper is seen upside-down. Brighter summer stars are rising, including Vega in the northeast, and Antares in the southeast. Saturn is high in the southeast, while Venus returns to the skies, joining Jupiter and Mercury, very low in the western twilight, later in the month. Mars remains lost from view, in the glare of the Sun.
25 – The Moon is less than a day past Full when rises this evening to the left of the red star Antares in the southeast, close to 10:20 PM EDT. They continue low above the southern horizon, due south near 2:30 AM.
26 – A delightful collection of planets is a rewarding challenge, low in the west-northwest this evening. Jupiter has been settling lower all month, and now encounters two planets rising – the brilliant Venus to its right, and above Venus, the elusive Mercury. You’ll see the triangle between 9 and 9:15, about one “fist” above a level horizon.
27 – The Memorial Day Weekend serves as an unofficial kick-off to summer, and the stars are doing their part. One of summer’s quintessential constellations is Scorpio, the Scorpion. The star Antares, regarded as the heart of the Scorpion, is rising in the twilight, and is nearly due south at midnight.
Eye On the Night Sky during the week of May 13th through the 17th is focused on the returning Crescent Moon to the evening skies.
The Mars Science Laboratory – Curiosity Rover
This is the home page for the Curiosity Rover. Explore the site to find images, videos, and volumes of science information.
The Mars Exploration Program
This is the home page for all of the on-going missions to Mars.
The Mars page of the website Nine Planets
Nine Planets is a great website featuring information about each planet (and even though there are only eight “planets”, you’ll find information about nearly all of the moons, dwarf planets, and other small solar system bodies)
Sky & Telescope's Interactive Star Chart
Follow the directions to get a chart that will show the sky for any location, at any time.
The Old Farmer's Almanac
This is a great source of sunrise and sunset tables, the Moon, its phases, as well as the viewing of planets, meteors, and eclipses throughout the year.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Each day brings a fascinating look at astronomy, and an explanation of what you are seeing.
Vermont Astronomical Society
The Vermont Astronomical Society (VAS) is a group of amateur astronomers that has been serving northern Vermont for over 45 years. Membership ranges from beginning naked-eye stargazers to advanced amateurs with home observatories and elaborate equipment.
This is the home of NASA, where science ranges from the Earth to the ends of the universe. That means there's a lot to explore!
Sky & Telescope Magazine
News and information about the Earth-Sun environment.
There are thousands of books, and each has information that can be helpful. You might collect a few before you find one that matches your taste and way of thinking about astronomy. To help you get started, check with your local library or favorite book store for the following titles:
The Stars by H. A. Rey
Rey, well known for writing and illustrating the "Curious George" books, wrote this wonderful introduction to the night sky in the 1950s, and it remains one of the best for a wide range of ages and interests.
NightWatch by Terrence Dickinson
This ring-bound book leads the beginning star gazer through the heavens, rich in photographs, charts, and lots of practical information.
Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning by Richard Hinkley Allen
For those who love the myths and origins of star names and constellations, this is a wonderful start. Some of the interpretations have been challenged in recent years as others have looked into the subject, so it is not considered the final authority. But it is still a wealth of ideas and information.
Night Sky: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Field Guides) by Mark R. Chartrand
This all around guide book shows you how to find the constellations, describes the nature of the heavens and the objects we see, and how to set up and use a telescope
Exploring the Night Skies with Binoculars by David Chandler
This is must, because it gives such practical and realistic expectations about what you can see.
Also of interest:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy by Christopher De Pree and Alan Axelrod
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo
The Sky: A User’s Guide by David Levy