Stargazers will be in for a treat as Saturn and the Moon edge closer together. If you happen to be out tonight, take a look at the Moon. Then look off to the lower left and you’ll spot a very bright yellowish-white star. That will be Saturn.
Have a telescope? Train it on Saturn to see the planet’s breath-taking rings. You’ll need a strong telescope, though. Also, the moonlight will work against you a bit.
The two celestial bodies will continue to move closer to each other as the night goes on.
By dawn, Saturn and the Moon will be separated by just 2.5 degrees. For reference close your fist and hold it at arm’s length. Your fist covers about 10 degrees of the sky.
Those of you residing in the southern half of Australia and New Zealand won’t see Saturn come Wednesday evening. It will have moved in behind the Moon. (Note: the image above is from an occultation (moving behind) of Saturn and the moon in 1997.)
If you can, find a way to look at Saturn through a telescope. Its rings are even more impressive thanks to a 21.5 degree tip. Saturn’s rings are expected to open up to nearly 27 degrees over the next three years.
May’s celestial events continue on May 15 at dawn when you can see Venus and Uranus right beside each other in the sky. You’ll need a low eastern horizon if you want to catch the two planets.
One of this year’s brightest meteor showers will take place in the early hours of May 24. Debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR is expected to cause a meteor shower. Train your eyes on the constellation Camelopardalis for the show.
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