This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2023 May 6 – May 13

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2023 May 6 – May 13



This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2023 May 6 – May 13

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the night sky when you are just getting into astronomy as a hobby. A good starting point which requires no equipment is to learn and pick out the constellations. Theoretically, we can see all or parts of 66 of the 88 constellations from New Brunswick. An initial goal of 50 is doable over a year, and challenging if you live in a light polluted area. Meteors require no equipment and a few appear every hour in a dark sky. Try for 25 or 50 in a year, knowing you can pad your total during several annual meteor showers, especially in mid-August and mid-December. It helps to maintain a record of your observations, including dates, times, locations, what you observed and any other details you want.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) has observing lists for various levels of experience, accessible through their website ( under the Observing tab. There are three programs for beginners, including two for exploring features of the Moon using binoculars or a small telescope. The other is the Explore the Universe Program, which includes 110 objects in five categories: Constellations and Bright Stars, the Moon, Solar System, Deep Sky Objects, and Double Stars. By finding and recording your observations for half the objects in each category of this program you can apply for a certificate and pin. You can download the lists for the other programs but the certificates and pins are for members only.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 5:58 am and sunset will occur at 8:33 pm, giving 14 hours, 35 minutes of daylight (6:06 am and 8:36 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 5:49 am and set at 8:42 pm, giving 14 hours, 53 minutes of daylight (5:56 am and 8:44 pm in Saint John).

The waning gibbous Moon follows Antares into the sky late Sunday evening, and it is at third quarter next Friday. Venus passes by the M35 star cluster in Gemini on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Seeing Venus on its trail, Mars spends the week heading toward the border of Cancer. Saturn is getting high enough now in morning twilight to offer decent views through a telescope, but we will need to wait a few weeks to nab Jupiter and Mercury. Early risers this weekend 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.

The Saint John Astronomy club meets at the Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre at 7 pm this Saturday. All are welcome.

Questions — Curt Nason

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