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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

May 26: Around the Galaxy

While the Moon orbits Earth and Earth orbits the Sun, the Sun isn’t exactly standing still. In fact, it’s racing around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, carrying Earth and the other planets with it.

May 25: Lynx

The faint constellation Lynx is in the west and northwest at nightfall. It’s above Pollux and Castor, the twins of Gemini, which are almost due west, and brighter Capella, the leading light of Auriga, the charioteer, to their lower right.

May 24: New Moon

The Moon will be “new” tomorrow as it passes between Earth and Sun, so it will be hidden in the Sun's glare. And even if the Sun wasn’t in the way, there wouldn’t be much to see. It’s night on the lunar hemisphere that faces our way, so the Moon is dark.

May 23: Fuzzy Foot

The twins of Gemini are dropping feet-first toward the western horizon as night falls. One of those feet is marked by a small, faint smudge of light: the star cluster M35. It is about 2,500 light-years away and contains about 150 stars.

May 22: The Fox

Vulpecula, the fox, rises in late evening. The constellation is quite faint. Its brightest star — a red giant more than 200 light-years from Earth — is visible to the unaided eye only from a dark location, away from city lights.

May 21: More Moon and Venus

The planet Venus, which blazes as the “morning star,” perches quite close to the crescent Moon at dawn tomorrow. Venus is the brightest object in the night sky other than the Moon, so you can’t miss it.

May 20: Moon and Venus

Look for the Moon before sunrise tomorrow, with Venus, the “morning star,” to its lower left. Despite its moniker, Venus is a planet, not a star. In fact, it’s our closest planetary neighbor, passing as close as 27 million miles away.