Tonight's Sky - May 2011





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Published on Apr 26, 2011

May Evening Planets
Throughout the dark spring night, Saturn graces the sky, moving from its
evening perch in the south to the west in the morning.

May Constellations and Deep-Sky Objects
Looking toward the south, we've turned away from the center of our Milky
Way Galaxy. Thus we see farther into the universe.
The large constellation Virgo fills the southern sky in the late evening.
One of the zodiacal constellations of ancient times, Virgo honors the life-
giving virtues of women. Shafts of wheat in her hand represent fertility.
Two smaller constellations lie above Virgo.
Coma Berenices honors a queen who gave her long hair to the gods to
ensure her husband's safe return from war.
Canes Venatici represents the hunting dogs of the gods.
The brightest star in Canes Venatici is Cor Caroli, the Heart of Charles,
named for Charles 1 of England.
Using a pair of binoculars, visit the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies.
These tiny smudges of light are galaxies, far away from our own Milky
Way, each aglow with the light of billions of stars.

The Sombrero Galaxy, M104, lies in the southern part of Virgo. Its dark
dust lane makes it look like a large hat, hence its name.
M64, a spiral galaxy, can be found tangled in Berenice's Hair.
M51, in Canes Venatici, is known as the Whirlpool Galaxy. It is one of the
most beautiful face-on spirals in the sky.

May Morning Planets
Watch Venus and Jupiter slowly come together just before sunrise during
the first two weeks of May. On May 11, they will form a lovely pair close
together in the early morning twilight.
Venus appears as the brighter of the two.
Jupiter will climb higher into the sky as the month progresses.
If you have sharp eyes, you might also spot Mars and Mercury glowing
faintly near Venus and Jupiter in the predawn sky.

May Special Events
The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on the morning of May 6.
Look toward the eastern sky after midnight to see about 10 meteors per

Credits: http://hubblesite.org/


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