Weekly Stargazing Tips

Provided by StarDate.org. Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii).

May 25: First-Quarter Moon

The Moon is at last-quarter at 12:19 p.m. CDT. At that moment, sunlight illuminates one-half of the lunar hemisphere that faces Earth. The Moon rises in early afternoon and stands high in the southwest at nightfall.

May 26: Omega Centauri

About 160 known globular clusters orbit the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The biggest and brightest is Omega Centauri, which is low in the south in early evening. It may be the stripped core of a smaller galaxy that the Milky Way took over long ago.

May 27: Vanishing Winter

Some of the bright lights of winter are dropping from the evening sky. Low in the west at nightfall, look for Procyon in Canis Minor, the little dog. And look to its upper right for the twins of Gemini above Venus, the “evening star.”

May 28: Crowning the Crown

Corona Borealis, the northern crown, stands half-way up the eastern sky as darkness falls this evening. It is a small semicircle of moderately bright stars that opens to the left. It is crowned by a binary star system known as Alphecca.

May 29: Early Beacon

Spica is close to the right of the Moon at nightfall. The brightest star of Virgo shines blue-white, indicating that its surface is thousands of degrees hotter than the Sun’s.

May 30: Ophiuchus

Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer, is in good view tonight. The big constellation clears the eastern horizon by about 10 p.m., and arcs high across the south during the night. Most of its stars are relatively faint, so you need a starchart to find them.

May 31: Moon in Balance

The gibbous Moon is in “balance” tonight. It is passing through Libra, the balance scales. Libra’s two brightest stars are close above the Moon. The bright planet Saturn is a little farther to the lower left of the Moon, with orange Antares below Saturn.