This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, May 13, through Sunday, May 15, written by Sam Salem.
On Friday, Sun rises at 5:35am and sets at 8:09pm; Moon sets at 4:19am and rises at 5:19pm.
On Friday evening, the almost full Moon is passing about 5 degrees left of Spica. Brighter Arcturus shines is 30 degrees to their upper left.
A total eclipse of the Moon occurs on Sunday night and early hours of Monday. The Lunar Eclipse will be visible from most of North America except the far northwest, and from all of Central and South America. The Moon, in Libra, will be high in the sky for many of these areas. Europe will catch mainly the partial stage of the eclipse, toward dawn on Monday. The duration of the eclipse is 5 hours and 19 minutes. The duration of totality is 1 hour and 25 minutes.
For our area, the Penumbral Lunar Eclipse begins at 9:32 pm on Sunday, The Penumbral Lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon moves through the faint, outer part of Earth’s shadow, the penumbra. This type of eclipse is not as dramatic as other types of Lunar Eclipses and is often mistaken for a regular Full Moon. The Partial Eclipse begins at 10:28 pm. Full eclipse begins at 11:29 pm, and it reaches its Maximum in the early minutes of Monday at 12:11 am. The Full Eclipse ends at 12:54 am, the Partial Eclipse ends at 1:55 am, and the Penumbral Eclipse ends at 2:51 am.
Venus and Jupiter, magnitudes –4.0 and –2.1 respectively, are the two bright “Morning Stars” shining low in the east as dawn brightens. Jupiter is the higher one. They’re pulling farther apart by 1 degree per day. The two planets are separated by 13 degrees on Saturday morning.
Mars, at magnitude +o.8 in the constellation of Aquarius, glimmers roughly 10 degrees upper right of Jupiter. Saturn, also magnitude +0.8, is in eastern Capricornus, almost 25 degrees to the upper right of Mars.
Find Pollux and Castor, the twin stars of Gemini, in the west-northwest sinking lower each night from mid-May through mid-June. Pollux and Castor rise in the east-northeast in the early evenings around New Year’s Day. At that time of year, they point straight up from the horizon. The two stars shine nearly overhead in the cold nights of February and March. Now, in the warmer evenings of late spring, Gemini stands on the west-northwestern horizon, with Pollux and Castor forming a horizontal line in the twilight.