For the Northern Hemisphere
May 21 - June 21, 2011
All times are local unless otherwise specified.
Night Sky Visitors ...
My 2011 sabbatical continues. In this abbreviated edition of the Gemini Night Sky, I offer the following to keep you looking up and tuned to the wonders above.
Planetary and Stellar Treats
Sky Lights ~ Gemini
May 21 - June 21
Planets ... those seen with the unaided eye
Saturn is our only evening planet. At magnitude 0.8 it can be seen overhead at nightfall. The Lord of the Rings moves westward all night long until it sets, around 3:30am in the beginning of Gemini and at 2:00am by its end. The planet's yellowish glow is eye-catching above (west of) bluish Spica. As the sky darkens, look overhead for the large triangle formed by Saturn, Spica and golden Arcturus. Use the Big Dipper to locate Saturn (see Arcturus below for details). 6/6-11 use the waxing Moon and the 5min.-video by Star Gazer, Let the Moon Lead the Way, to guide you to Regulus of Leo the Lion and to Porrima, Saturn and Spica in the constellation of Virgo the Virgin. 6/9 the waxing Gibbous Moon can be seen near Saturn and 6/10 near Spica. 6/9 Map ~ 6/10 Map Saturn, Spica and the Moon form a straight line the following evening. 6/11 Map/Text Saturn's rings are opening, revealing more and more of their northern face. The planet's ring tilt is 7º in June and widens to 15º by December. Generate images of Saturn's ring tilt as seen from Earth with the Solar System Simulator. With a 6- or 8-inch telescope you just may be able to see Saturn's 5 brightest moons.
Jupiter at magnitude -2.2 rises higher each morning as it pulls away from Mars, Venus and Mercury. 5/21 5:20am Map ~ 5/26 5:20am Map ~ 5/31 5:20am Map The gaseous giant planet rises in a dark sky at 4:00am in the beginning of Gemini and at 2:45am by its end. Jupiter dazzles in the dark sky for night owls and early birds. The waning Crescent Moon lies west (above) Jupiter 5/28 and nestles near the planet 5/29. 5/28 Dawn Map/Text ~ 5/29 5:15am Map
Mars is easier to see during Gemini, though you may still need binoculars to spot the planet in a twilit sky. Each morning our Red Planet, at magnitude 1.4, can be viewed in a dark sky a little higher above the eastern horizon. Mars rises about 4:45am in the beginning of Gemini and at 4:00am by its end. 5/22-23 use Jupiter to find the pairing of Mars and Venus in dawn's early light. 5/22 Dawn Map/Text ~ 5/23 5:15am Map As Gemini unfolds the distance between ascending Mars and descending Venus increases. 5/30 the waning Crescent Moon positions itself west of (above) Mars. 5/30 5:15am Map Watch the mini-dipper-shaped Pleiades rise to line-up with Mars during Gemini. By mid-June Mars lies south (right) of the Pleiades (M45). Use this 5/31 5:20am Map to see the star cluster's dipper-shape positioned to the right of the Moon and Mercury, preceding its alignment with Mars.
Venus at magnitude -3.8 is breathtaking, though low on the eastern horizon. The planet rises around 4:45am during Gemini. 5/22-23 use Jupiter to find the pairing of Venus and Mars in dawn's early light. Venus is 100x brighter than Mars. 5/22 Dawn Map/Text ~ 5/23 5:15am Map As Gemini unfolds the distance between descending Venus and ascending Mars increases. 5/31 the last vestige of the waning Crescent Moon lies to the left of Venus on the horizon. 5/31 Dawn Map/Text Early June Venus lies south (right) of the mini-dipper-shaped Pleiades, the shoulder of Taurus the Bull. Use this 5/31 5:20am Map to see the star cluster's dipper-shape positioned to the right of the Moon and Mercury preceding its line-up with Venus. By the end of Gemini Venus lies to the north (left) of Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Bull.
Arcturus is the bright golden star high in the east at sunset. Use the handle of the Big Dipper to arc down to Arcturus from there spike down to blue-white Spica in the south. Helpful Image In 2011 yellowish Saturn lies above (west of) bluish Spica; both are located south of Arcturus. Look for the large triangle formed by these 3 colorful celestial bodies. You can still use this early April Map to see how the triangle relates to blue-white Regulus of Leo the Lion. The westward movement of Arcturus and the Big Dipper can be observed until sunrise. Big Dipper Navigation Notice the seasonal position of the Big Dipper's bowl.
Scorpius the cosmic scorpion, a sprawling j-shaped constellation, is seen in the southeast at sunset. It's a summer constellation that's on the rise! Track Bunny's footprints in Scorpius throughout the year.
The Summer Triangle is also on the rise! Begin Looking for this stellar right triangle high in the northeast at sunset. Vega is the brightest star and western point; Deneb the dimmest star and eastern point, Altair is the southern point.
Sirius, Good-Bye! See you again at the beginning of August. Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens, is sinking very low on the west-southwest horizon as Gemini begins. Sirius reaches its heliacal setting in San Francisco May 23.
Sirius our spiritual Sun, which is sometimes referred to as the star of the Christ, disappears into the Suns glowing embrace and is no longer seen soon after the celebration of the Wesak Festival May 17. Its as if the emanations of this star are aligning with our central luminary to flood the solar system with the Christ consciousness during the June 15 Goodwill Festival of Humanity. (see Festival of Goodwill below) The "christening" of humanity is inherent during this cycle with the outpouring and inflowing energies.
Heliacal setting times for Sirius vary in different locations and over time. The heliacal setting for Sirius occurs, when the Sun is at the altitude of 0 degrees on the horizon and Sirius is at the altitude of 7 degrees. Sirius at an altitude of less 7 than degrees is hidden from our view by the Suns light. See Heliacal Rising & Setting of Sirius.
Setting of Sirius in San Francisco
Curved yellow line across the bottom of the image represents the western horizon.
Sirius visibly rises again in the east August 7, 2011. Stay tuned for these details and how Sirius relates to the Dog Days of Summer in a future Night Sky.
Goodwill Festival Links Us to the Heart of our Galaxy!
Annual Festival in the Heavens
During Gemini with each Goodwill Festival there is a festival in the heavens. It occurs as the Full Moon enters the white ether of the Milky Way.
This is the place of reunion, of true kinship, the place of cosmic consciousness. It is a place within the galactic magnetic field. It is from here that we receive an exceptional spiritual outpouring into our hearts from the spiritual Sun, Sirius. This galactic magnetic field carries this blessing to ALL on Earth during this time. Its highest effect is world unity. Audio Version (1:16 minutes)
Each Goodwill Festival Sagittarius, the centaur archer, points his arrow at both Antares, the red heart star of Scorpius, and the Goodwill Full Moon positioned at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, the family of 200 billion stars to which we and our Sun belong. Image The Milky Way is widest in Sagittarius and Scorpius because the great bulging central hub, the heart of our galaxy, also known as the galactic center, is in this direction.
Click Moon Dances for a Full Moon map and meditative reflections.
2011 Global Meditation
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Started in Astronomy
At Skymaps.com download a current monthly guide, evening sky map & calendar.
Link to Sky and Telescope's This Week's Sky at a Glance.
Spaceweather.com keeps you looking up!
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The Night Sky