The Ten Acre Observatory Night Sky Report
May 27, 2021
The first part of the May provided us with a number of evenings that turned out to be good viewing nights but things kind of went downhill from there as we had a week and a half of nights that were, at the least, cloudy with several evenings of severe thunderstorms - including a couple of tornados.
The Lunar Viewing Event held at the Purcell City Lake (sponsored by Purcell Parks and Recreation) on the 15th started out cloudy but gradually cleared, giving great views of the waxing crescent. A special appearance by the International Space Station just after 9 pm was one of the highlights of the evening. Although June looks to be fairly uneventful, there are still a few noteworthy events occurring during the month.
Highlights: The Moon kicks things off on the first as it passes just to the south of Jupiter. The Moon reaches third quarter and passes to the south of Neptune on the second. Then on the seventh it passes to the south of Uranus and reaches apogee with a distance of 252,418 miles. New Moon occurs on the 10th with Mercury coming into inferior conjunction later in the day. Also occurring on the 10th is an Annular Solar Eclipse which, unfortunately, will not be visible from the U.S.
On the 12th, the Moon passes to the north of Venus then on the 13th it passes to the north of Mars. First quarter is on the 17th and Summer Solstice on the 20th with the first full day of summer being on the 21st. Mars will be passing thru the Beehive Cluster (M44) on the 21st and the 22nd. The Moon reaches perigee on the 23rd at a distance of 223,666 miles. Full Moon is on the 24th. The Moon passes to the south of first Saturn on the 27th, Jupiter on the 28th and finally Neptune on the 30th.
Comets: Comet 7P/Pons-Winneke will make an appearance as it travels between Jupiter and Saturn and as it moves to the southeast, it passes the Helix Nebula (NGC7293) on the 15th and to the east of the main sequence star Formalhaut (Piscis Austrinis Alpha) on the 30th. It will require a dark location using a 6inch or larger telescope to view. It is predicted to reach magnitude 11.5 and will make its closest approach to Earth on the 12th when it comes to within a distance of 0.44 AU (1 Astronomic Unit = the average distance between the Earth and the Sun).
Planetary Report: The Sun is moving from Auriga into Gemini. Mercury is in Taurus. Venus is moving from Gemini into Cancer just "behind" Mars. Jupiter is in Aquarius and Saturn is in Capricorn. Uranus is between Pisces and Taurus, Neptune is between Aquarius and Pisces and Pluto is still in the eastern portion of Sagittarius.
Meteors: No major showers are shown for June but random meteors can still be seen at a general rate of about 1–3 per hour.
Planet Visibility: Evening hours: Venus and Mars. Overnight hours: Pluto and Saturn. Morning hours: Uranus, Neptune, and Jupiter. Mercury will not be visible for most of the month due to its proximity to the Sun
Dark Sky Viewing starts on May 30 and continues through June 16, then starts again on the 29th and goes on into July. Odyssey Astronomy Club viewing sessions are scheduled for the fifth and 12th. With a special Lunar Observing Event to take place on the 19th at the north side of the main pavilion in the Choctaw Creek Park in Choctaw. Things will get started at around 8 pm. The event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Masks will still be required and social distancing will still be observed. The event is sponsored by Choctaw Parks and Recreation, Ten Acre Observatory and the Odyssey Astronomy Club. Come on out and join the fun!
For information about Ten Acre Observatory, the Odyssey Astronomy Club or to schedule an appointment to come out for a visit, contact us at 405-899-4016 (leave a message) or email us at: [email protected] A visit to the observatory and the use of our equipment and facilities is always FREE. Visit, Like and Follow us on Facebook.