Of the five planets easily visible to the unaided eye, only Mercury is missing from view this month. The other four are in good view, with one of them, Jupiter, putting in its best showing of the year. Venus climbs higher as the Evening Star, while Mars and Saturn remain in the early morning sky. Among the stars, Regulus and Spica climb to their full spring glory.
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In the Sky This Month
May 23: Scorpius Rising
Scorpius, the scorpion, is entering prime evening viewing time. Its brightest star, Antares, rises about an hour after sunset, with the scorpion’s “stinger” following about an hour later. Look for orange Antares low in the southeast by 10 or 11 p.m.
May 24: Earth’s Shadow
A few minutes after sunset, look for a blue-gray band of color just above the eastern horizon, with pink above it. The dark band is Earth’s shadow. As Earth turns on its axis, the shadow will engulf you as the daytime sky gives way to night.
May 25: Moon and Spica
Spica, the leading light of Virgo, perches to the lower right of the Moon at nightfall. It is one of the brighter stars in the sky, and it’s not close to any other bright stars, so it stands out.
May 26: Moon, Jupiter, Spica
The Moon slides between two bright lights tonight. The planet Jupiter is close to the lower left of the Moon at nightfall. It’s brighter than anything in the night sky except the Moon and Venus. The star Spica is farther to the right of the Moon.
May 27: Moon and Jupiter
Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, looks like a brilliant star close to the right of the Moon at nightfall. It stays close to the Moon throughout the night.
May 28: Western Lights
Three bright lights line up parallel to the western horizon this evening. The center light is also the brightest: Venus, the “evening star.” The star Capella is far to the right of Venus, with the star Procyon about the same distance to the left of Venus.
May 29: Moon and Antares
Antares, the leading light of the constellation Scorpius, is in good view tonight, to the right of the full Moon as darkness falls. Antares is a supergiant — one of the biggest and brightest stars in the galaxy.