|The Astronomical Society of Greenwich||
Bruce Museum, Museum
Greenwich, CT 06830 (203) 869-6786, Ext. 338
Astronomical Society of Greenwich info
4 - New Moon
5 - Moon in conjunction with Mars
6 - Moon is at perigee (225,663 miles from Earth)
10 - First quarter Moon
18 - Full moon - "Flower Moon"
21 - Moon is at apogee (251,921 miles from Earth)
23 - Moon in conjunction with Neptune
25 - Moon in conjunction with Uranus
26 - Last quarter
31 - Moon in conjunction with Saturn
News of the Worlds
Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower peaks on the night of May 4. Look east after midnight to see about 15 meteors per hour – many with long trails. This year the Moon will be down, which always helps visibility.
Jupiter is in conjunction with the Sun on May 7, with Saturn following on the 10th. (The two are in conjunction with each other on the 31st, an event unfortunately lost in the morning twilight.) Mercury is at superior conjunction on the 8th, with Venus (presently dimming out in morning twilight) doing the same in June.
All of this means that we won't see many planets this spring. In fact, the five visible planets will align – on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth, unfortunately – with all five within 19° of sky on the 17th. However, don't believe anyone who tells you this will cause earthquakes. The tidal increase caused by this conjunction is only 1/300 of an inch!
However, there are a few things to see. Mars still hovers in the evening twilight, setting around 9:15 EDT. The red planet is joined by Mercury, May 19-31. Look for them just below the constellation Gemini in the western sky.
According to NASA Science News, the Aurora Borealis was seen as far south as Florida on the evening of April 6. Many amateur astronomers, who had come out to watch the planetary conjunction, (see April's newsletter) were able to photograph it. (See "Brushfires in the Sky," at NASA's website, http://www.spacescience.com/headlines/y2000/ast25apr_1m.htm for some great pictures.)
Two ASG members, Bruce Miller and Bill Bambrick, also reported seeing the Aurora from Old Greenwich/Riverside. Bill saw a red glow "rising from the crescent moon through Gemini to the east. The show lasted from 8:20 to 8:40 local time and contained some white/green streaks also. The southern boundary was sharp and slightly convex to the south while the northern edge just faded gradually."
Bruce reported that, "the sky was glowing red like a neon pizza sign. Due to a strange illusion, it seemed like a glowing hazy cloud quite close to us over the treetops."
Wow! Anyone else see anything????
Incidentally, NASA predicts that with Solar Max lasting for a year or so, we can expect more of the geomagnetic storms that produce Auroras. So we can hope there will be more. Keep an eye out – and we'll keep you posted!