Saturn reached opposition – and its best for the year – on May 23rd but is still clearly visible for observation. Binoculars will show a golden horizontal oval shape, caused by the planet’s rings, and it’s largest moon Titan can also be seen by keen-sighted observers. A small telescope will reveal the rings themselves and a number of smaller moons, such as Tethys, Dione, Enceladus and even tiny Mimas.
Close to the ringed planet is a double star, Graffias, which marks one of the claws of Scorpius, the scorpion. A small telescope with low magnification will split it, revealing a pair of white stars. The brighter star (aka, the “primary”) appears two or three times brighter than it’s fainter companion (aka, the “secondary.”)
Lastly, binocular astronomers can console themselves with a nearby pair of stars – Omega 1 and Omega 2 Scorpii. This wide pair of white stars, of almost equal magnitude, appears within the same field of view as Graffias and just a little to the south-east.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
Images courtesy of Mobile Observatory.
02:20 UT – The waning crescent Moon passes Mercury. (Mercury: 17% illuminated, magnitude 1.8, diameter 10.1”. Taurus, not visible.)
12:17 UT – The waning crescent Moon passes Aldebaran. (Taurus, not visible.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
2015: An Astronomical Year
|2016: An Astronomical Year||2016: The Night Sky Sights||The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019)||The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook (Pocket Edition)|
(Kindle & Paperback)
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