Moon Passes Mars, Regulus, and Saturn May 19-22, 2010

Contact: Rebecca Johnson
Editor, StarDate magazine
512-475-6763; [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 2010

The bright star Regulus joins the Moon and the planet Mars to form a beautiful lineup high in the southern sky at nightfall May 19-22, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.

Starting on May 19, Mars will be in good view above the Moon as night falls. Regulus shines to the left of Mars, slightly higher. Regulus is the brightest star of Leo, the lion, and is more massive, hotter, and brighter than the Sun. Mars looks like a bright orange star.

On May 20, Regulus will shine is a little to the upper right of the first-quarter Moon, with bright orange Mars farther to the Moon’s right. The trio will form a wide, skinny triangle. They will be high in the sky at nightfall, and drop from view by around 2 a.m.

On May 21, the Moon will lie between Saturn (due south) and Mars (in the southwest) at nightfall. Saturn looks like a bright golden star.

By May 22, the Moon shines below Saturn, high in the south at sunset.

Published bi-monthly by The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, StarDate magazine provides readers with skywatching tips, skymaps, beautiful astronomical photos, astronomy news and features, and a 32-page Sky Almanac each January.

Established in 1932, The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas, hosts multiple telescopes undertaking a wide range of astronomical research under the darkest night skies of any professional observatory in the continental United States. McDonald is home to the consortium-run Hobby-Eberly Telescope, one of the world's largest, which will soon be upgraded to begin the HET Dark Energy Experiment. An internationally known leader in astronomy education and outreach, McDonald Observatory is also pioneering the next generation of astronomical research as a founding partner of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

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