Star­walks: Planet Watch

Catron Courier - - News - By Thea Mar­shall

There is still time to catch the plan­e­tary show. On May 20, the red planet, Mars, will be­gin for­ward mo­tion again and lose its bright­ness as it moves to­ward the star Spica in the Wheat Sheaf of the Vir­gin and on­wards to­ward Saturn, ret­ro­grad­ing through the stars of the Bal­ance. Both plan­ets will be up in the sky at night­fall with Saturn still in the east and Mars over­head as May ends.

Jupiter will shine brightly as it sets to­wards the west, still among the stars of the Twins, vis­i­ble close to the cres­cent of the Moon on June 1.

Mars will spend all of June and half of July ap­proach­ing Spica, which is paired with the north­ern star Arc­turus, a red­dish star eas­ily found by fol­low­ing the han­dle of the Big Dip­per—‘Arc to Arc­turus.’

By June 18, Saturn will be be­tween the two bright­est stars of the Bal­ance, ZubenEl­genubi and ZubenEschamali. Below it, low on the south­ern hori­zon, will be the an­cient con­stel­la­tions of the Cen­taur and the Wolf. This group was known to the Greeks and Ro­mans, as well as the older Akka­dian civ­i­liza­tion of the Euphrates. Us­ing the Moon as a mov­ing marker, you can see it close to Mars on the evening of June 7, and in the east just past Saturn on the evening of June 10.

The bright red star Antares, ‘The Heart of the Scorpion’ fol­lows on the eastern hori­zon, and fur­ther to the left/north the bril­liant Vega is seen.

A cur­rent res­i­dent in Pie Town, Thea Mar­shall has lived in NM for 34 years, and en­joys writ­ing, her horse, and the stars.

A young boy com­plained to his fa­ther about how cold it was in the house. The fa­ther told him to sit in the cor­ner. The kid asked why. The fa­ther said "Be­cause cor­ners are al­ways 90 de­grees."

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