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: Last-Quarter Moon

The Moon will be at last quarter tomorrow, indicating that it is three-quarters of the way through its monthly cycle of phases. Sunlight will illuminate half of the lunar hemisphere that faces Earth.

May 26: Guitar Nebula

Cepheus, the king, is low in the north at nightfall. The constellation’s brightest stars form a shape that resembles a child’s drawing of a house.

May 27: Ceres at Opposition

Ceres, the largest member of the asteroid belt, puts in its best appearance of the year this week. It lines up opposite the Sun so it’s in the sky all night. It’s brightest for the year, too, although you need binoculars to find it.

May 28: Beta Scorpii

Beta Scorpii, a system of at least six stars, is at the left side of a row of stars that represents the head of Scorpius. It’s low in the southeast at nightfall, above Antares, the scorpion’s bright orange heart.

May 29: Rising Swan

Cygnus, the swan, rises in the northeast this evening. Its body appears parallel to the horizon. To find the swan, look for its brightest star, Deneb, low in the northeastern around 10 or 11 p.m.

May 30: M101

The beautiful galaxy M101 stands near the handle of the Big Dipper. A telescope reveals the face-on spiral, which is similar to our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

May 31: Libra

Libra stands to the upper right of Scorpius at nightfall, low in the southeast. Its outline shows a triangle of stars with two lines of stars dangling below. Libra is a set of balance scales held by the Greek goddess of justice, represented by nearby Virgo.