Friday, May 1, 2020

An Event on May 12, 2020....

Use this telescope, too!!
One and a quarter hours before sunrise on May 12, 2020, as seen from Palm Springs:

Date and Time:  May 12 at 4:32 a.m. PDT
Object                Azimuth         Altitude
Moon   (71%)       166                 31
Jupiter                   166                 34
Saturn                   160                 34
Mars                      130                 26

Moon is 3.2 degrees below Jupiter.
Saturn is 4.7 degrees east (left) of Jupiter and 5.2 degrees upper left of Moon.
Mars is 27.6 degrees east of Saturn and 32.3 degrees east of Jupiter that morning.

Moon will pass Jupiter-Saturn at intervals of 27-28 days. The most compact gathering of Moon with the two giant planets this year will be on the evening of December 16, 2020, when Jupiter-Saturn will be just 32 arcminutes (just over 0.5 degree) apart, and the Moon within 5 degrees to their SSW. Five days later, on December 21, Jupiter-Saturn will be just 0.1 degree apart.

May 2020 is quite an interesting month for watching planets. In the evening, Venus drops dramatically, showing ever thinner crescent phases before disappearing into the solar glare in the final days of May. Mercury emerges by mid-month and passes just one degree south of Venus on May 21. Two nights later, the Moon forms a compact gathering with Mercury and Venus.

In May's predawn sky, Jupiter and Saturn are in "quasi-conjunction", within 5 degrees apart all month. They'll move into better evening view  as they pass opposition in July, and separate to over 8 degrees apart by late in August before coming together for their very close conjunction in December. In May's morning sky, Mars is some 20 to 40 degrees east of Saturn.

May's gatherings of Moon and planets, the changing views of Venus and Mercury in the evening sky, and the ongoing predawn saga of the three bright outer planets are all illustrated on the May Sky Calendar, available at

Also check the Sky Calendar Extra Content Page for morning and evening twilight sky maps showing naked-eye planets and bright stars through July, with details about planet visibility. Early in May, additional content and links will be added about the 2020 apparition and close approach of Mars.


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