Weymouth Astronomy

The Night Sky - May 2019

As the Sun climbs to a more northerly declination on the ecliptic the days rapidly lengthen. By mid May observers will have to wait until almost midnight (BST) for the short window of full darkness. The midnight sky shows the Summer Triangle stars - Vega in Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila. In our own solar system Saturn rises around midnight during the month and crosses the meridian just before dawn.

The Night Sky

High Lights of the Month

  • 7th (after sunset): Mars lies above a thin crescent Moon
  • 12th (evening): The Moon in Leo
  • 19th (early evening): Mars above M35 in Gemini
  • 20th (midnight): Jupiter over to the right of the waning gibbous Moon
  • 23rd (early morning): Saturn will lie up to the right of the waning gibbous Moon

Three Open Clusters

Looking northwest in the evening of the 6th, at an elevation of approx 35 degrees the 'W' shaped constellation of Cassiopeia can be observed. Up to the left lies Perseus with its bright star Mirphak which lies at the heart fo the Alpha Persei Cluster. Between Cassiopeia and Perseus the Perseus Double Cluster can be seen with binoculars or a small telescope. These are relatively young with an age of 13 million years and lie at a distance of 7,500 light years. There are more than 300 blue-white supergiant stars in each cluster.

 

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine