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