This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 29th, and Thursday, May 30th, written by Louis Suarato.
The 20% illuminated, waning crescent Moon sets at 3:22 Wednesday afternoon. Sunset occurs at 8:24 p.m.. Civil twilight, when the Sun is 0 to 6 degrees below the horizon, and only the brightest stars and planets can be seen, begins at sunset and ends at 8:58p.m… Nautical twilight, when the Sun is between 6 and 12 degrees below the horizon, and stars can be utilized for nautical navigation, begins at 9:41 p.m.. Astronomical twilight, when the Sun is 12 to 18 degrees below the horizon, and most celestial objects can be seen, begins at 10:28 p.m.. Jupiter rises at 9:12 p.m., and Mars sets about an hour and half later. Jupiter’s moon, Europa, disappears behind the gas giant at 10:07 Wednesday night, and reemerges at 1:08 a.m., Thursday. The last naked eye planet to appear is Saturn, rising at 11:17 p.m.. Saturn’s rings are currently tilted at 23.7 degrees toward Earth, and are beginning to open toward their widest, 27 degrees, in September. Saturn will reach opposition on July 19 this year.
On May 20, 1971, the U.S. Mars space probe launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. The space probe was equipped with cameras, infrared spectrometer and radiometer, ultraviolet spectrometer, radio occultation and celestial mechanics instruments. The Mars probe entered orbit on November 13 of that year, becoming the first artificial satellite of Mars. Its photos completed a 100% survey of the Martian surface, including volcanos and a 3,000 mile canyon. The space probe also provided the first close-up images of the Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos.
The rocket manufacturer, SpaceX, recently deployed the first 60 satellites of 12,000 they plan to release into the mid-2020’s. These satellites are designed to implement a new space-based internet.. The train of satellites are currently orbiting Earth at about the same altitude as the International Space Station, and are being viewed and imaged by amateur astronomers. To check on passes over our region, go to the website calsky: https://www.calsky.com/cs.cgi?cha=12&sec=1