Some daily events in the changing sky for May 25 – June 2.
Friday, May 25
Saturday, May 26
Sunday, May 27
Monday, May 28
Tuesday, May 29
Wednesday, May 30
Thursday, May 31
Friday, June 1
Saturday, June 2
Want to become a better amateur astronomer? Learn your way around the constellations. They're the key to locating everything fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope. For an easy-to-use constellation guide covering the whole evening sky, use the big monthly foldout map in each issue of Sky & Telescope, the essential magazine of astronomy. Or download our free Getting Started in Astronomy booklet (which only has bimonthly maps).
Once you get a telescope, to put it to good use you'll need a detailed, large-scale sky atlas (set of maps; the standard is Sky Atlas 2000.0) and good deep-sky guidebooks (such as Sky Atlas 2000.0 Companion or the enchanting though dated Burnham's Celestial Handbook). Read here how to use them most effectively.
More beginners' tips: "How to Start Right in Astronomy".
This Week's Planet Roundup
Mercury (about magnitude 0) is usually elusive, but right now it's having a fine apparition in evening twilight. Don't miss it! Look for Mercury low in the west-northwest about an hour after sunset, far to the lower right of bright Venus.
Venus (magnitude –4.3, in Gemini) is the brilliant "Evening Star" in the west during and after twilight. Pollux and Castor are lined up above it at the beginning of the week, and to its right by June 2nd. In a telescope, Venus appears just about perfectly half-lit.
Mars (magnitude +0.9, in Pisces) is gradually getting higher in the east before and during dawn. It's the orange-yellow dot below the Great Square of Pegasus.
Jupiter (magnitude –2.6, in southern Ophiuchus) rises in the east-southeast during twilight and dominates the south by 1 a.m. daylight saving time. Antares, less bright, sparkles 8° to its right during the evening, and lower right after midnight. Jupiter will be at opposition on June 5th.
Saturn (magnitude +0.5, in Leo) shines high in the west during evening, far upper left of bright Venus (by 30° to 23° this week). Watch these two closing in on each other. They're on their way to a close conjunction at the end of June.
Regulus, less bright at magnitude +1.4, is 10° or 11° to Saturn's upper left. North of Regulus is 2nd-magnitude Algieba (Gamma Leonis), a fine telescopic double star.
Uranus (magnitude 6, in Aquarius) is in the east-southeast before dawn.
Neptune (magnitude 8, in Capricornus) is higher in the southeast before dawn.
Pluto (magnitude 14, in northwestern Sagittarius) is not far from Jupiter in the south during early morning hours.
All descriptions that relate to your horizon — including the words up, down, right, and left — are written for the world's midnorthern latitudes. Descriptions that also depend on longitude (mainly Moon positions) are for North America. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) equals Universal Time (UT, UTC, or GMT) minus 4 hours.
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