May 2020 MAC Newsletter

What's Up in the May Sky - Dan Malone
Evening Sky:
Morning Sky:

Venus : Still very big and very bright and will be most of the spring - Brightest on May 5

Mars : May 1 - Mag. +.41 @ 114 million miles

Mars : May 31 - Mag. -.01 April 30 @ 94 million miles

Jupiter and Saturn visible all month

May All Sky Chart:

May 4 - Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower +/- 60 per hour

May 7 - Full Moon

May 14 - Last Quarter Moon

May 22 - New Moon

Comet SWAN (C/2020 F8) is currently in the constellation of Aquarius. The current estimated magnitue is 9.59 (JPL) while the latest observed magnitude is 7.2 (COBS). Closest approach May 13.

Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) is currently in the constellation of Camelopardalis. The current estimated magnitude is 7.34 (JPL) while the latest observed magnitude is 9.6 (COBS). Currently breaking apart.

Comet C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS) is currently in the constellation of Cepheus. The current estimated magnitude is 13.92 (JPL) while the latest observed magnitude is 8.3 (COBS). Currently leaving the inner Solar System.

Sky chart produced by Stellarium

Ron Rairick shared this sixteen and half minute video with me. It talks about the camera systems that were used during the space race, particularly in the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. They had a 24" 12,400mm focal length camera they used to track the vehicles more than 3 miles down range.


How did NASA get those great film shots of Apollo and the Shuttle?
Space Trivia:

In April we asked, "What does the Y4 mean in comet Atlas's designation of C/2019 Y4?"

Answer: That it was the 4th comet discovered in the second half of the month of December

The current IAU naming standard for comets use letters to indicate which half of a month the comet was initially discovered. A = first half of January, B = second half of January, C = first half of February, D = second half of February, etc. However, they skip the letter 'I' fearing it'll be confused with the number one (1).

May's Question: Which planet has the longest year (as measured in Earth years)?

Website of the Month:
Of the 340 watts per square meter of solar energy that falls on the Earth, 48% is absorbed at the surface, 23% is absorbed by the atmosphere, and 29% is reflected back into space.
Parker Solar Probe

Registration for the 2020 Indiana Family Star Party is open. The registration form can be found here: IFSP Registration form

The Minnetrista Center cancelled all May affiliate meetings.

We will be making a decision about the MAC June 2020 club meeting later in the month of May. In part, it will depend on whether or not the Minnetrista Center will be open. Governor Holcomb's plan is to reach phase 3 by May 24th. Phase 3 will allow gatherings of up to 100 people, and those 65 and older can venture out cautiously. We'll keep you posted on the club's plans here, via email, and on Facebook.

Facing South Mid-May 2020 at 10pm EDT - Image created with SkySafari 6 for Mac OS X, �2010-2018 Simulation Curriculum Corp.,