The May Night Sky



What you can look out for this month…

· May 4th/5th- Eta Aquarids meteor shower- in the northern hemisphere the rate of meteors might reach 30 meteors per hour. The conditions for viewing will be impaired by the nearly full moon but they should still be visible!

· May 7th- A full supermoon! The moon will be full and at its closest approach to earth thus it will appear to be at its largest.

· May 22nd- The moon will be located on the same side of earth as the sun and will not be visible this will be the best time in the month to observe faint object such as other galaxies.

· May 23rd- A newly discovered comet, Atlas, will make its closest approach at a distance of 72 million miles.

Constellations

The constellations best seen in May are Canes Venatici, Centaurus, Coma Berenices, Corvus, Crux, Musca and Virgo. Canes Venatici and Coma Berenices are northern constellations, while Centaurus, Virgo, Corvus, Crux and Musca lie south of the celestial equator. Virgo and Centaurus are the 2nd and 9th largest constellations in the sky, while Crux is the smallest.

Planets

Mercury – Favourable evening appearance. Appears bright and passes close to Venus on 21 and 22 May.

Venus – Rapidly draws closer to the Sun. Sets 4 hours after sunset on 1 May but just 30 minutes after on 31 May.

Mars – Brightening and growing in apparent size. Currently a low object in the morning sky.



March Night Sky

Its Star count time again.

The CPRE have asked us to see stars and then count them!

From 21-28 February 2020, we’re again asking for your help in looking up at the heavens. Can you help us by counting stars to map our view of the night sky?

·  Try to pick a clear night for your count, with no haze or clouds, then wait until after 7pm so the sky is really dark.

·  Looking south into the night sky, find the Orion constellation, with its four corners and ‘three-star belt’.

·  Let your eyes adjust to the darkness – the longer you wait, the better – then count the number of stars you can see within the rectangle made by the four corner stars. Don’t count the corners, but if you can see them, do count the three stars in the middle – the belt.

·  Make a note of the number of stars seen with the naked eye (not with telescopes or binoculars) and then submit your count results here

The copy me in bsheen21@gmail.com so the Observatory have a record too. You won’t have much time to log an official count but you can still send your results to me! The dates chosen are to correspond with New Moon.

The Moon;-  First Quarter 2nd  Full Moon 9th     Last Quarter 16th    New Moon 24rd  

 The Full Moon in March is known as the Worm Moon

The Planets;-

Venus:- Best seen at the end of the month however it is that very bright object following the Sun (another rarely seen object!) towards the horizon .. At the moment it is very bright with a magnitude of – 4.0. Check out its phases after Sun sets, you can see them change as the weeks go by. Around the 27th it has a first quarter like Moon phase  (Technically dichotomy)  The best time to see this is before it gets properly dark to cut down the glare or use a Moon filter.

.Uranus;- Is well placed all night well worth getting a telescope on it through the month. It is close to Venus between the 7th and 9th of the month. It will show as a small blue/green disc.

The big three all together;-

A special sighting of the outer planets comes at the end of the month.  Jupiter, Mars & Saturn come together between the 20th and 31st March, before Sun rise.

On Youtube;-  Our video all about The Hurlers, search by using Hurlers Cornwall Carolyn to pick it up first time from the other looka likes or use the link

SKY @ NIGHT   Takes another month off but will return to our TV screens in April

SpaceX continues to chuck up more and more satellites 60 at a time, best seen early moring before sunrise or early evening after sunset.  Actual times can be found via www.heavens-above.com

Image;- this month shows some of the stamps issued by the Royal Mail to mark 200 years of the RAS. I had the privilege, with others, of checking the captions on them all.

Brian Sheen.

Supporting Bounce Back with RAS200

Cornwall Sea to Stars joined fellow RAS200 project, Bounce Back for a Festive Constellation in London on Friday 6th December.

Celebrating Apollo 50

Cornwall Sea to Stars at Apollo 50, Goonhilly

What better place for Cornwall Sea to Stars to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing than in sight of Arthur, the giant satellite dish at Goonhilly Earth Station that beamed the images sent back from Apollo 11 around the world.

After a rainy start and a wash down of the trailer the team of Sea to Stars volunteers had a non-stop day in glorious sunshine talking to space enthusiasts of all ages from Cornwall and beyond.
Judging by the ever present evaluation board, it was our busiest day ever and the feedback very positive. With activities of “guess the weight” planet challenge and the handling of meteorites together with the telescopes on display the day brought an eclectic mix of people. The team even got to touch a piece of Moon with thanks going to a kind collector who owns a lunar meteorite and to top it all Cornwall Sea to Stars made it on the ITV Westcountry evening news.

Many thanks to everyone who came to talk to us and make it such a memorable day and to the hard work and long hours put in by the volunteers (Carolyn, Brendon, Clint, Heidi and Keith).

Stithians Show 2019

Cornwall Sea to Stars at Stithians Show

It was a busy week for the Sea to Stars team as Monday the 15th saw the trailer and volunteers Clint, Andrew, Harvey and Heidi spend a busy day at Stithians show. This is the largest one-day agricultural show in the country, and the 2019 edition drew record-breaking crowds under heatwave conditions.
It’s a favourite venue for Cornwall Sea to Stars mission to bring astronomy and geophysics to places that they might otherwise not reach. 

Cornwall Sea to Stars community outreach aspect is a priority for the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) who provided us with the funding to purchase and fit out the trailer through a grant scheme associated with the RAS 200th anniversary celebrations. This also had Sarah Jenkins, the evaluation expert from the RAS project, visit the team at Stithians, talking to visitors at the stand, getting an overview of what we provide and any improvements we can make to enable us to provide an even better interactive experience at future events.