Monday 9th to Sunday 15th May 2022
The evening of Tuesday 10th provides an opportunity to observe one of the Clair-Obscur lunar visual effects known as the "Jewelled Handle". The Moon will be to the south west at 10pm and the effect is caused by sunlight reflecting off the peaks of the Jura Mountains that are located towards the north on the nearside face of the Moon.
To help you spot it, I have provided a diagram of the different Clair-Obscur effects courtesy of Sky At Night Magazine and an image of the Jewelled Handle courtesy of Pete Lawrence.
A copy of the diagram and other observing aids are available at the starsoversomerset.com website together with a back catalogue of previous Stars Over Somerset topics. From this autumn I am hoping to organise some astronomy lectures and star parties to take advantage of the darker evenings at that time of year. If any local groups or organisations would like their own astronomy evening, please contact me via the website. The same goes for anyone seeking advice on telescopes, whether you are considering investing in one or just need some tips on using a telescope that you already have in the cupboard.
For very early risers there are some great opportunities to spot the International Space Station next week. Monday 9th at 3.55am, Wednesday 11th at 3.55am and Thursday 12th at 3.07am. In all three cases, the ISS appears close to the west horizon and spends seven minutes passing almost directly overhead before disappearing to the south east.
The ISS is only visible because sunlight reflects from its enormous solar panels - in the same way, you only see planets because sunlight is bouncing off their surface. Of course, the ISS is much closer and highly reflective so it looks really bright!
Screenshots courtesy of Stellarium
Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2022