The Crescent Moon, which originated in early May, becomes a spectacular pair with Mars, and a few days later with Beehive, the big star.
As if that is not enough, we have a nice meteor shower that will approach the night sky.
A TV or a computer can hardly be compared if the night is clear!
Before I go on, thank you for looking at the readers of Looking Up, Clyde Diedrich. He sent a beautiful photo of the full moon he had recently taken and showed a number of goose flying in front of them! He took them from a bridge over the Erie Canal between Mohawk and Herkimer. "He couldn't believe what I caught," said Mr. Diedrich. "I didn't know geese could fly that high."
The picture reminds me of a flock of geese that I had seen crossing the moon many years ago. I watched through the telescope as this V-formation of waving geese was heading between me and the moon. The geese were very small compared to the moon, so they had to be quite remote. I had no picture to prove it, like Mr. Diedrich! Does anyone else have similar experiences?
The Moon is currently the morning crescent that leads to the New Moon on Saturday, May 4th. During the following week, look for a beautiful crescent moon in the western sky as the evening twilight deepens.
On the evening of May 6, as soon as the stars come out, find a low, clear view of the western sky. The crescent moon will be just above the bright red-orange star Aldebaran (size +0.9) and its V-shape not geese but the stars forming the star cluster Hyades. Aldebaran is right on the left end of this coarse "V" shape, though it is much closer to us than the star cluster.
Just above, look at the planet Mars, a fairly striking size of +1.6 and reddish.
Note that "Earth" shines through the dark part of the Moon. This is the sunlight reflecting off the Earth and reflecting off the Moon again. The view with the telescope is overwhelming.
On May 10, a much stronger crescent moon will be in the southwest sky, right next to the Beehive star cluster. It should be a wonderful view in the telescope. The hive covers approximately the same amount of sky as the moon.
Eta Aquaria Meteor Shower Peaks May 6th. You will see most meteors after midnight. The Eta Aquariid meteors are left over from the famous Halley comet, which has spread after a long comet's orbit. Every May the Earth passes through a meteor shower and pulls them in.
They seem to radiate from the constellation Aquarius, which rises at around 2:30 am in early May, as seen from Central European latitudes. Meteors can be seen anywhere in the sky, but shower members can be traced back to the glow.
Astronomy magazine predicts about 40 meteors per hour. It assumes it is an open, bright, dark sky.
Let me know what you see!
Peter Becker is editor-in-chief of The News Eagle at Hawley, Pennsylvania. Notes are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org