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After a little break (of 25 years or so) Bob King is celebrating his retirement with a return to The North 103.3's airwaves!After almost 40 years with the Duluth News Tribune, Bob is now retired. But scratch a print guy and you'll find a radio guy; King and then-UMD Planetarium Director Glen Langhorst hosted Startalk on KUMD for several years in the early '90s.Listen for Astro Bob every other Tuesday at 8am on Northland Morning.

Astro Bob's Backyard Astronomy: More conjunctions, and a possible (probable?) new meteor shower

Samuel Shanks
Sunday's total lunar eclipse, here photographed on an iPhone through a telescope viewfinder

For most of us who looked at it on Sunday night, the total lunar eclipse was quite a thing to see, only briefly blocked here and there by passing clouds.

If the weather stays clear this week, look to the early morning sky again for more planetary conjunctions:

  • Early tomorrow morning (May 18th) at about 4:30, Mars and Neptune will be very close to each other above the southeastern horizon. Mars will be faint, and Neptune will be even fainter just above it, so faint that you'll need a pair of binoculars or a small telescope to be able to make it out:
    Mars Neptune conj May 18 2022.jpg
    Bob King
    The Mars-Neptune conjunction, May 18 at about 4:15 AM CDT.
  • 90 minutes to an hour before sunrise on May 29 (two Sundays from now), Mars will have shifted a bit to where it will then be meeting up with Jupiter. They will be very close – only about a degree apart!:
    Mars Jupiter conj May 29 2022.jpg
    Bob King
    The Mars-Jupiter conjunction, which will be visible on May 29, 2022 at about 4:15 a.m. CDT.

The next night, around midnight on Monday May 30th, the Earth will be passing through the debris trail left by comet 73P, also known as the Schwassmann–Wachmann 3 comet. IN 1995 the comet started disintegrating, and some of that debris may – may – cause a meteor shower; there is debate among scientists if these meteors, called the Tau Herculids, will be spectacular or not. Let us hope for clear skies that night so that we can all see for ourselves who was right. There will be no moon that night, so if there are meteors, they could be quite a thing to see.

Chris Harwood is The North 1033’s Production Director and (acting) Program Director, a morning/daytime host, and the host of Soul Village. He is also a musician, a music historian, an audio engineer, and an avid record collector.