2017, May: View of Saturn

Saturn rises in the May sky later in the evening.  Early in the month it appears above the eastern horizon around 10 p.m.  While this planet does not dominate the sky in brightness, it is on of the wonders of the sky through a telescope.  Its extensive rings dazzle the eye.

On the morning of May 14, the waning gibbous moon appears about 4.5 degrees from Saturn.  The star Antares, appears 17 degrees to the upper right of Saturn.

On May 1, look for Venus near the eastern horizon, Jupiter near the western horizon and Saturn in the south.

For more information about the planets see:

2017, May: Jupiter in Evening Sky

Jupiter is that bright star shining in the eastern sky after sunset, rising about 3 hours before sunset early in the month.  It is retrograding (appearing to move west compared to the starry background) into early next month.  (See our article below about Jupiter and Spica.)  On the evening of May 7, the waxing gibbous moon appears about 2.5 degrees from Jupiter with Spica about 10 degrees to the lower left of the giant planet.

For more information about the planets see:

2017, May: Venus in Morning Sky

Venus is the bright star in the morning sky during twilight in May 2017, rising 100 minutes before the sun in early May.  On May 1st, Venus is in its brightest phase.  While near our planet (41 million miles away), sun reflecting from its clouds make it appear exceeding bright in our sky.  It will continue to shine at its brightest through mid-month.  While moving away from our planet on a track  closer to the sun than earth, it continues to shine as the brightest “star” in our sky.

Until about May 21, Venus rises in the eastern sky while Jupiter is setting in the west.  After late May, Jupiter sets before Venus rises.  So it’s best to look for both in the sky early in the month.

On May 22, the moon appears about 3 degrees from Venus.

For more information about the planets see:

2017, May: Sun & Moon

Sun

May’s arrival begins the full burst of spring in mid-northern latitudes.  For observational astronomy it is one of the best months of the year.  This year, Jupiter gleams in the evening sky and Venus dominates the morning views.  With occasional nights with northwest winds and a hint of frost, the skies gleam clearly.  Living near Lake Michigan, the prevailing breezes are sometimes from the northeast.  These nights are somewhat blustery, hinting that winter is still attempting to hang on.  It’s those days and evenings with northwesterly winds that are the best.  May also begins longer daylight, with the sun in the sky nearly an hour longer this month.  By month’s end the daylight lasts 15 hours.  As the season inches toward the summer solstice, the daylight only increases another 13 minutes.

The sun’s rising and setting points only move northward about 10 degrees.  The solstice is near.

May’s warmer, longer days, the burst of spring foliage, and northwesterly evening breezes, make this month the best of the year.

Moon

NASA Photo

 

Phase Date/Time Moonrise Moonset
First Quarter 05/02/17 (9:47 p.m.) 1:43 a.m. 2:09 a.m. (05/03/17)
Full Moon 05/10/17 (4:42 p.m.) 7:48 p.m. 6:59 a.m. (05/11/17)
Last Quarter 05/18/17 (7:33 p.m.) 11:23 a.m. 12:02 p.m.
New Moon 05/25/17 (2:44 p.m.) 5:35 a.m. 8:06 p.m.

Times are Central Daylight Time for Chicago, Illinois, from US Naval Observatory calculations.
(For mjb & afb)

2017, April 23: Venus and Moon

Brilliant Venus and the moon shine from the eastern sky this morning as seen from the Chicago area. The pair is about 8 degrees apart.  During the next few weeks Venus appears at its brightest, although it rises during twilight.

For more information about the planets see:

2017, April: Saturn

Saturn appears in the southern predawn skies during April.  At mid-month, it rises in the southeast after midnight.  As the sky begins to brighten, it appears in the south near the bright star Antares and the constellation Sagittarius.  The stars of of the centaur resemble a teapot.

On the morning of April 16, the moon appears about 5 degrees to the upper right of Saturn.  Reddish Antares is nearly 20 degrees to the lower right of Saturn.

Saturn is at opposition on June 15, rising at sunset and appearing in the sky all night.

2017, April: Sun & Moon

Sun

With the sun rising north of east and setting north of west, April brings rapid change to the weather and growth of spring plants at mid-northern latitudes.  During the month, the sun rising and setting points appear to move about 15 degrees northward while the length of daylight grows nearly 75 minutes!  Welcome to the first full month of spring!

Moon

 

NASA Photo

Phase Date/Time Moonrise Moonset
First Quarter 04/03/17 (1:39 p.m.) 11:47 p.m. 2:39 a.m. (04/04)
Full Moon 04/11/17 (1:08 a.m.) 7:01 p.m. (04/10) 6:47 a.m.
Last Quarter 04/19/17 (3:57 a.m.) 2:06 a.m. 12:14 p.m.
New Moon 04/26/17 (7:16 a.m.) 6:20 a.m. 8:05 p.m.
Times are Central Daylight Time for Chicago, Illinois, from US Naval Observatory calculations.
(For mjb & afb)

For more information about the planets see: