The bright lights of spring take over the night sky. Regulus leads Leo across the sky, with the lion’s head and mane spreading above it in the evening hours, and its body and tail to the left and upper left. The tail ends at another bright star, Denebola. Spica, the leading light of Virgo, follows Leo, with the brilliant planet Jupiter close by.
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In the Sky This Month
May 30: Moon and Regulus
The Moon has a familiar companion the next couple of evenings: Regulus, the heart of Leo, the lion. The bright star stands to the upper left of the Moon tonight, and closer to the right or lower right tomorrow night.
May 31: Kornephoros
Mighty Hercules stands high in the east as night falls at this time of year. The constellation’s brightest star represents the entire strongman: Its name, Kornephoros, comes from a Greek word that means “the club bearer” — Hercules himself.
June 1: Menkent
Centaurus wheels low across the south on June nights. In fact, much of the constellation stays below the horizon. The brightest star in Centaurus that’s visible from most of the United States is Menkent, a name that means “shoulder of the centaur.”
June 2: Venus at Elongation
Venus will stand farthest from the Sun in the early morning sky tomorrow. At this time of year, though, its path tilts low above the horizon, so the planet doesn’t climb very high. Yet Venus is easy to pick out because it is the brilliant “morning star.”
June 3: Moon and Jupiter
The planet Jupiter is in great view tonight. It stands just a couple of degrees from the Moon. The planet looks like a brilliant star. For the hours they are in view, in fact, nothing outshines Jupiter except the Moon.
June 4: Moon and Spica
Spica, the leading light of Virgo, stands close to the lower right of the Moon as night falls this evening. The brilliant planet Jupiter is to their upper right, completing a beautiful triangle.
June 5: Libra
The Sun, Moon, and planets move in front of the zodiac, the “pathway of animals.” The only inanimate member of the zodiac is Libra, the scales of justice. Libra arcs across the southern sky this evening. Its four main stars form a lopsided square.