This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2023 April 29 – May 06~

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2023 April 29 – May 06~

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2023 April 29 – May 06~

The constellation Hercules is up in the east after sunset, recognizable by the Keystone asterism that forms the legendary strongman’s body. He is usually pictured kneeling upside down in the sky, having a tête-à-tête with Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer, with his foot placed triumphantly on the head of Draco the Dragon. The Keystone is situated two-thirds of the way from Arcturus to Vega.

Hercules (Heracles in Greek mythology) was the result of one of Zeus’s many affairs with a mortal woman. Consequently, Hera (wife of Zeus) did whatever she could to have Hercules killed. As a baby Hercules strangled two snakes sent by her, and the Twelve Labours he performed were assigned by King Eurystheus, a representative of Hera.

Two globular clusters, M13 and M92, can be seen with binoculars in the constellation. M13, the finest globular cluster in the northern hemisphere, is along the right side of the Keystone, two-thirds of the way from bottom to top. A line from the bottom right star of the Keystone to the middle of the top side, and extended not quite that same distance, will put you near M92.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:09 am and sunset will occur at 8:24 pm, giving 14 hours, 15 minutes of daylight (6:16 am and 8:27 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 5:58 am and set at 8:33 pm, giving 14 hours, 35 minutes of daylight (6:06 am and 8:36 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is in the waxing gibbous phase for most of the week, becoming full on Friday. Venus passes between the horn tips of Taurus the Bull early in the week, heading toward Gemini and setting her sights on Mars in that constellation. Saturn rises around 4:00 am this week, but Jupiter will need a couple of weeks before it can appear in morning twilight. Mercury is at inferior conjunction on Monday, moving toward a difficult morning apparition for observing in late May. Next weekend early risers might catch some meteors from the Eta Aquariids shower, emanating from a point near Saturn, although the full Moon and low radiant will lower your chances of seeing more than a few.

On Sunday evening at 8 pm, tune in to the Sunday Night Astronomy Show via the Facebook page or YouTube channel of Astronomy by the Bay.

Questions? Contact Curt Nason

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