A Bit of Cabin Fever?? Look UP May 14-23 into Clear Skies!!
If you have been feeling cooped up, here’s one safe idea that may lift the spirits and engage the whole household any night when skies are clear: turn off the porch light, step outside and admire the stars. A May night-sky podcast description is available from Sky and Telescope, but here is the short of it: Venus is a spectacular “evening star” in the west this month, while sinking toward the horizon; Planet Mercury will rise into view and be very close to Venus on the 21st; The Big Dipper will be nearly overhead. You can even participate in a citizen-scientist activity by observing the constellation Leo from May 14-23! For instructions how, see below. In the middle of a global calamity, the beauty of the starry night sky can soothe the soul and remind us of of what unites all of humanity.
How-To: Constellation Leo observations with Globe At Night
To learn to identify Leo, watch the first 3:30 minutes of this educational video. Before going outside, set your smartphone on lowest screen brightness with the Globe At Night magnitude charts for Leo set at 40N. After your eyes have adjusted to the dark for 10-15 minutes, compare the Leo you see in the sky to the best-matching chart, which you can zoom as needed. Report your observation at https://www.globeatnight.org/webapp/ either straight off or after you get back into your home. Collected data will help scientists measure light pollution around the world! For an instructional video, see idamass.wordpress.com, Feb 18th posting. Happy gazing!
“Not to see the stars is a soul loss.”
– Thomas Berry