Eyes to the Sky: Corvus soars east, Venus arrives west


Corvus the Crow is the celestial equivalent of quintessential spring migrating birds -- robins, phoebes and swallows -- that return to northern yards, houses and barns to nest. The kite-like, four-star constellation soars in the southeastern sky above our familiar landscapes, appearing on spring evenings after earthly birds have quieted down and settled close to the land for the night.

In May, Corvus is well above the horizon when darkness falls.

The crow keeps wonderful company. It glides to the right of blue-white Spica, the brightest star of Virgo the Virgin, and leads the way for golden planet Saturn. Although the crow is a small constellation that has no first magnitude stars, it is outstanding where skies are dark.

About half an hour after sunset, before the stars appear in the southeast, look to the west-northwest where the moon is beginning a new cycle today and the return of planet Venus as Evening Star is anticipated.

New moon, when the moon is invisible while passing in front of the sun, occurred at 8:28 last night. Although Luna will be too close to the setting sun to be seen with the naked eye tonight, it is there and might be glimpsed half an hour after sunset with the aid of binoculars.

Brighter Venus is 2 degrees above and to the right of the moon. Do not look at the sun, which sets at 8:02 tonight. Venus sets at 8:59.

Tomorrow, an eyelash of a crescent moon will be visible below Jupiter and above Venus low in the west-northwest soon after sunset. On Sunday, the crescent will be to the left of Jupiter. They set by 10:30 p.m. Venus climbs higher every day. Look close to the horizon between 8:40 p.m. and 9 p.m. all week.

To contact Judy Isacoff go to www.naturesturn.org


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