As we approach the summer season, the heavens are putting on a show in the evenings. Spread from west to east across the sky at sunset, we see an array of planets. Venus will be the brightest of the group, shining in the western sky like a jewel, in the horns of Taurus the Bull. Mars is near the top of the sky, staring into the eyes of Leo the Lion. And Virgo the Maiden sits in the eastern sky, holding Saturn in her outstretched hand.
As the May becomes June, the planets will get closer together, Saturn and Mars most notably. All three will meet up in a beautiful triangle in August. By the middle of May, a Waxing Crescent Moon will join Venus in the sky. Over the remainder of the month, it will visit the other two planets as it makes its way towards a Full Moon on May 27, 2010. Looking to the north, we see the mother bear, Ursa Major, high in the sky. She protects her cub, Ursa Minor, sitting about half way between her and the northern horizon.
Jupiter and Mercury rule the mornings over the next few weeks. Mercury will be most visible on the 26th of May when it is the farthest West of the Sun that it gets to in its orbit. But the sky will be dominated by brilliant Jupiter, sitting in the southeast at sunrise. The Moon visits Jupiter on June 6th, and might just barely be visible with Mercury on June 10 th as an extremely thin Waning Crescent.
This time of year is also a great time to go out and look for the Milky Way. It is a cloudy band of stars that stretches across the sky. Best visible after midnight, the brightest parts of our galaxy will rise in the southern sky between the constellations of Scorpius and Sagittarius.
Any time of the night, there are wonders to see in the sky. So, while you are out camping or just standing in your drive way, make sure you look up and see the sights.