What to Observe in May

Well, yet another round of clouds and wind and an approaching storm means nothing to do with astronomy tonight. I finished level 2 of the Ealing training yesterday, though I struggled do to some personal things going on. Nothing bad happen, I just wasn't as clean or quick as the night before. Lesson learned, when distracted don't use astronomy equipment. Here is a picture I took. I'll take more as I am volunteering at a couple of star parties to run the scope to reinforce what I have learned before getting alone with it . . . sounds rather intriguing doesn't it?

I found great article that I want to share with you on things to observe. Some of you may know it, it is called The Night Sky This Month. There is also a very cool video cast called Astronomy Sky this Week This video blog is based out of the Denver Co. area but has some good info on it.

Some highlights from The Night Sky This Month article:

Here is some info on Venus and they have a finder chart for each of the items: "At the beginning of May, Venus spans 11" across and shows a gibbous disk 88-percent lit. By late in the month, the disk has grown to 13" and the phase has shrunk to 81-percent illumination. The planet shines at a stunning -4 magnitude, about ten times brighter than the brightest star Sirius. . . "

Saturn is high up and visible through early July and though the rings are tilted at 1.7 degrees, they will open up after the end of May. Uranus is in the morning sky with Jupiter and makes for a fun viewing in the early a.m. Neptune comes back "in western Aquarius, 1.5° northwest of the 4th-magnitude star Iota Aquarii." Finder maps are located on the site.

For the Deep Sky their target in May is Kemble's Cascade. I viewed this last fall and it is a wonderful object to see. I encourage you to go over to their article and check out what they have to say on it.

The article mentions two comets, one should be easy enough to see with anyone with a 4 inch scope. The article says:

Comet C/2009 K5 McNaught sweeps from Cepheus past Polaris to Camelopardalis during the month and remains circumpolar (meaning it never sets) for most midnorthern observers. Glowing with the combined light of a 9th-magnitude star, the comet will be easily accessible from suburban backyards with a 4-inch scope. On Sunday night, May 2/3, it lies just 1.5° from the 3rd-magnitude star Beta Cephei and two weeks later, on the weekend of May 14 and 15, it can be found 3° from the open star cluster NGC 188. During the month's second half C/2009 K5 McNaught passes near Polaris, the North Star, and soon after that moves from Cepheus into dimmer Camelopardalis.

Think I'll try to take a peak and perhaps show it at a Star Party I'm attending!!!! Check out the info on the other comet. I wasn't aware of either comet! So lets have fun looking at a comet or two! The second comet, Comet 81P Wild will be hard to view at around 10th magnitude and will be like finding some of the fainter Messier galaxies in Virgo. Up for the challenge?

I hope you find this information useful and The Sky This Month has a link so you can get their monthly newsletter via email. Enjoy, and I hope your skies are better than me.