Along the Ecliptic

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Saturday evening, 31 May, look toward the western horizon for the waxing crescent Moon to be about 6-7o from the planet Jupiter, both of which fit within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars. Nearby are the ‘twin stars’ Pollux and Castor. Using binoculars take a look at the inner planet Mercury as it passes close by the open star cluster, M-35, near the feet of the twins. also know as the Beehive Cluster.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   And don’t forget to look toward the south and eastern horizons as two other visible planets are, well, visible! Mars is still easily seen a little up and to the right (west) from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo. Further toward the east is Saturn, and down to the left (east) from Saturn is the reddish star Antares.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   As you look at the graphic or the actual sky can you see a pattern to how some the of stars and the planets are arranged? Picture a curved line that connects the stars and planets and you are picturing the ecliptic, the Earth’s orbital path and also the apparent path the Sun follows throughout the year.

   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

One thought on “Along the Ecliptic

  1. Pingback: Mercury Might Get Stung! | Bob's Spaces

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