Dawn Planetary Delights

by VirtualAstro on May 10, 2011

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

Dawn 11th May Credit: Adrian West


During the month of May, four bright Planets will grace the morning sky just before dawn.

The planets Venus, Jupiter, Mercury and Mars will be involved in a series of conjunctions (close together) and will finally be joined by the thin crescent moon at the end of the month.

Twice during May some of the planets will converge to form a trio, where 3 planets will fit in an imaginary circle roughly 5 degrees across.

On the 11th Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will be within 2.5 degrees of each other, forming a very tight trio and on the 21st another trio will be formed by Mercury, Venus and Mars.

Dawn Planets 21st May Credit: Adrian West

On the 29th, 30th, and 31st, the waning crescent moon will arrive, moving past Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury stretched out in a line across the eastern sky.

Dawn 29th May. Credit: Adrian West

Unfortunately, these gatherings will be a challenge especially for observers in high latitudes, as the ecliptic in May is very shallow and low to the horizon. But if all you need is a challenge to get you out observing, then here’s your chance!

Venus and Jupiter should be easy objects to see, but Mercury and Mars will be very difficult, along with the crescent moon due to the onset of daylight.

Be careful as you will be viewing objects close to the sun. Never ever look at the sun with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope as this will permanently damage your eyes or blind you. Viewing the sun can only be done with specialist solar telescopes and equipment.

About 

Astronomer, writer and much much more. The best Astronomy, Space info on twitter. Making Stargazing easy, fun and enjoyable for all.
Creator of Meteorwatch, meteorwatch.org and virtualastro.org

Dan Bennett May 11, 2011 at 4:07 AM

On the 29th, they are like a string of diamonds with a pearl on the end.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: