Adrian Dening's Stars Over Somerset

    Monday 29th May to Sunday 4th June 2023

    On the morning of Monday 29th May, Mercury will be at its greatest western elongation (or in other words its furthest distance) from the Sun, so if you were looking towards the east just before sunrise around 5am, there would be a good chance to see it. Best to not risk using a telescope though as the Sun will be rising in the same direction shortly afterwards.

    If early mornings are not your thing, wait until it gets dark on the Monday evening, when a slightly gibbous Moon will be located towards the south west. It is a perfect opportunity to observe the Clair-obscur lunar visual effect known as the Jewelled Handle. The feature will be on the sunlight terminator to the north of the Moon's face. I have provided a diagram, courtesy of astronomer Peter Oden, to help find it.

    Take your telescope outside and point towards the west a couple of evenings later, around 11pm on Wednesday 31st to see Venus setting below the horizon with Mars a little above it and to the left. Venus will appear to be about 50%-lit.....a bit like a quarter Moon.

    Mars will be just to the right of the Beehive open cluster of stars, also known as M44 in the Charles Messier catalogue of deep sky objects. It is one of the nearest clusters to us, only about 610 light years away.

    Finally, on the evening of Saturday 3rd June, we have a Full Moon. At 11pm it will be situated towards the south south east, just above the red supergiant star Antares.

    Screenshots courtesy of Stellarium
    Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2023

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