Wed, 2 May 2007
Download this month's sky map!
Kym Thalassoudis does a wonderful job creating accurate and easy to use star maps every month! Visit his site at www.skymaps.com for skymaps and links to other useful astronomical sites. Also a great portal for astronomical gifts!
Those in the Southern Hemisphere should also visit James Barclay's site for a great tour of the Southern Hemisphere December sky.
Another great site for Southern Hemisphere viewers is the Royal Astronomical
Society of New Zealand's Southern Hemisphere Calendar can be found at the RASNZ site
Download "What's up 2007: 365 days of Skywatching" by Tammy Plotner, published by Universe Today (Faser Cain) it is a fantastic and it is free!
Planets for May 2007
Key Dates for May 2007
Days and Times in UT (help with
Great site for sunrise and sunset times and a downloadable toolbar application by Steve Edwards
Occultation information can be found at the IOTA website!
M51 - The famous Whirlpool galaxy in Canes Venatici is a bright face on spiral with a smaller elliptical companion, NGC 5195. Look for a pair of fuzzy patches of light. The slightly larger and brighter one is M51. Make sure to spend some time here; as there is almost always some spiral structure to be seen, on good nights the detail possible is unbelievable. This is a difficult but very possible object in binoculars appearing as a hazy patch of light.
M63 - Another spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici smaller and fainter than M51, but seen more edge on so the galaxy appears as an elongated patch of light with a bright star at one end. Further inspection will show a faint halo around this patch. A difficult object in binoculars.
M94 - Just past M63 is another galaxy in Canes Vanitici. Look for a bright fuzzy star to find the core of M94, surrounded by a faint haze. A tough binocular object.
M101 - Some times we luck out and get two objects together in the scope (like M81 M82) and some times three (like the Leo trio) but instead of being a two-fer M101 is a ....twelve-fer! Not only can you count M101 as possibly M102 (although I don't) you also have 10 other galaxies wrapped around the outside of this spiral galaxy in Ursa Major.
You will have to work for M101 as it is one of the most difficult Messier objects to find in a telescope. This is a large faint patch of light almost as big as the full moon. Use low power and look for a brighter part of the sky, more of a change in contrast than an object at first glance, which is the galaxy. Dark skies really help in the search of this one and are a to find M101 in binoculars.
M102 - Not an official Messier object in most references, we will look for the galaxy NGC 5866 which is a popular favorite for the 102nd slot in Messier's catalogue. Look for a small, faint patch light that looks like a short fuzzy cigar.
M64 - In a telescope this galaxy in Coma Berenices is a fairly bright, slightly oval shaped patch of light. Look for the dark lane, which gives this galaxy the common name Black Eye. The galaxy appears as a faint fuzzy patch in binoculars.
M85 - This elliptical galaxy lies in Coma Berenices just north of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. This appears as a bright, but small, patch of light with a bright stellar core.
M49 - This is an elliptical galaxy in Virgo just south of the main cluster of galaxies. M49 is round patch of light with bright center gradually fading to a round halo. M49 looks like a faint fuzzy star in binoculars. Use Art Russell's star hop sheets to help you find M49, M61 and other Virgo galaxies!
M61 - This is a face on spiral galaxy just south of M49 in Virgo, but much fainter. Look for a faint, round fuzzy patch of light.
M104 - This is the well-known Sombrero galaxy in Virgo. It is bright edge on spiral galaxy, which looks like a bright, elongated streak. It is very possible to see in binoculars.
For navigating the Virgo Cluster I highly recommend "Mastering the Virgo Cluster" by Alan M MacRobert; Sky & Telescope (Archives); May 1994; 42;*Monthly Messier information gleaned from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Moncton Centre Quebec and from the Astronomy Connection website.
Astronomical Highlights for 2007
Earth's major motions for 2007
Planet Positions for 2007
Eclipses for 2007
March 19 - partial solar eclipse (see map, times, and animation!): The first solar eclipse of 2007 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in Pisces and is visible from eastern Asia and parts of northern Alaska
September 11 - partial solar eclipse (see map, times, and animation): The last eclipse of 2007 is a partial solar eclipse at the Moon's descending node in southern Leo. Its visibility is confined to parts of South America, Antarctica and the South Atlantic
March 3-4 - total lunar eclipse (see map): The beginning of the umbral phase visible in the Arctic region, Africa, Europe, Asia except for extreme eastern region, most of Indonesia, western Australia, Queen Maud Land of Antarctica, extreme eastern South America, Greenland, the Indian Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern North Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in Africa, Europe, western Asia, Queen Maud Land of Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula, South America, eastern North America, Greenland, the Arctic region, the Atlantic Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and the extreme eastern South Pacific Ocean.
August 28 - total lunar eclipse (see map): The beginning of the umbral phase visible in North America, South America except extreme east, Antarctica except for Enderby Land, New Zealand, eastern Australia, extreme northeastern Asia, the Pacific Ocean, and the western Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in New Zealand, Australia, most of Antarctica except Queen Maud Land, Indonesia, eastern Asia, western North America, the Pacific Ocean, and the southeastern Indian Ocean.Eclipse information from: NASA Eclipse Homepage, Eclipses Online (HM Nautical Almanac Office, UK in coordination with the U.S. Naval Observatory)
As luck would have it, all the major meteor showers reach their peaks in 2007 with the Moon out of the sky. Any of these showers can produce dozens of shooting stars each dark hour leading up to dawn.Mark your calendar to look for...
Comets for MayGary Kronk's comet and meteor pages
Skyhound Comet pages
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