Eyes to the Sky: Corn Moon guide to planets, stars


Ruddy planet Mars is above and pearl star Spica is below the oval moon tonight. They appear in the southeast at nightfall and arrive in the southwest after midnight. Saturn, at its brightest, trails them -- the loose foursome travels roughly lined up. The formation remains the same through the week, except for the moon's changing position and shape. Luna rises later and larger each night. It will be between Spica and Saturn tomorrow. Tuesday finds the nearly full moon closer to Saturn.

On Wednesday, enjoy sunset at 8:06 in the west-northwest, opposite the rising Full Corn Moon in the east-southeast at 8:09.

The constellation Corvus the Crow is a charmer, located to the right of Spica and the moon tonight and tomorrow. Its four main stars simply and convincingly convey head, wingtips and tail of a bird or kite that is lifted on an updraft. Whereas Spica, of Virgo the Virgin, is an outstanding star in a constellation of dim stars. Corvus' defining lights are all close to the same magnitude, not as dim as Virgo's but not as bright as most of the stars of the Big Dipper, which is high above the Crow.

Leo the Lion is above and to the right of Corvus. If you can see the head end of the lion, which looks like a backward question mark, then your sky is dark enough to see the soaring crow to the left and below it.

Here on Earth, Mother's Day marks the approximate midpoint between the vernal equinox and summer solstice. The longest days, shortest nights of the year are approaching quickly. There are 14 hours, 18 minutes of daylight today, and 9 hours, 42 minutes of darkness. The longest days in our locale are 15 hours, 6 minutes; shortest nights 8 hours, 54 minutes.

To contact Judy Isacoff go to: www.naturesturn.org


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