Every Monday I pick the celestial highlights of the Northern Hemisphere (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but make sure check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses, and more.
Things to watch out for in the night sky this week: May 30 – June 5, 2022
Are you ready to take a risk to see something incredible? This week, there’s a chance — just a chance — that an unforgettable meteor outburst could see a thousand meteors per hour blast over Northern Hemisphere observers who come out at the right time. When it materializes, it will in dark, moonless skies because there is a new moon on Monday.
Monday, May 30, 2022: Tau Herculide Meteor Shower?
Tonight, astronomers predict that there will be could be an eruption in the night sky of between 1,400 and 100,000 meteors as Earth breaks through dust and debris left in the inner solar system by Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3. It broke apart in 1995 and could cause something truly spectacular …or maybe not. Some scientists predict an eruption rich only in extremely faint meteors, so prepare to be disappointed.
The main time to look outside is 5:00 AM Universal Time, which is 8:00 PM EST and 5:00 PM PST (so as soon as it gets dark…). If anyone gets a good picture, it’s America.
Tuesday May 31, 2022: A super slim crescent moon
The return of the waxing moon after the new moon is a spectacular monthly event that few of us try to see. Look to the western sky, low to the horizon, right after sunset and see if you can spot the delicate 2% lit crescent moon.
Wednesday, June 1, 2022: A waxing moon
Do the same tonight and you will find it much easier to see the 6% lit crescent moon. Look at the unlit side of the Moon and you will likely see “Earthshine” – light reflected from our own planet on the Moon. You may need binoculars to see it.
Thursday, June 2, 2022: A crescent moon and ‘Earthshine’ with the naked eye
A 10% lit crescent moon at dusk tonight is ideal for seeing “earthshine without visual aids.
Friday, June 3, 2022: A crescent moon and the beehive cluster
A 17% lit crescent moon will shine next to the Beehive Cluster in the constellation Cancer tonight. You will need binoculars for this, but any pair will do.
Saturday, June 4, 2022: All five planets with the naked eye
Get up before dawn and set your sights on the southeastern horizon and you’ll be able to see all five planets visible to the naked eye – six if you factor in the planet you’re on! In addition, they are in order of distance from the sun, with Mercury closest to the horizon, followed by Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Sunday, June 5, 2022: The Moon and Regulus
A 35% lit crescent moon will be visible very close to the bright star Regulus in the constellation Leo tonight.
Zodiac Sign of the Week: Bootes
If there are “shooting stars” from this week’s possible Tau Herculid meteor shower, they appear to be from the constellation of Boötes.
Rising east after dark as seen from the Northern Hemisphere, you can distinguish this Y-shaped constellation quite easily by arcing from the tail of the Ursa Major to the next bright star, Arcturus (“Arch to Arcturus”) .
Object of the Week: The Beehive Cluster (M44)
Found in the otherwise scarce constellation Cancer, the Crab, the Beehive Cluster — also called M44 and Praesepe (meaning “manger” in Latin) — is a group of stars located about 580 light-years away.
Although you can see it with the naked eye in a fairly dark sky, binoculars will find it easily in light-polluted cities. Expect to find about 60 stars in binoculars.
I wish you a clear sky and big eyes.