This month, Jupiter is well placed for easy evening viewing, Saturn rises before midnight, and the moon dances with the planets!
What's Up for May? Jupiter at its best, Saturn rises in the late evening sky, and the moon dances with the planets.
Hello and welcome! I'm Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Jupiter climbs higher in the southeast sky earlier in the evening this month. This means that telescope viewers don't have to wait until midnight to get good views of the planet. You can enjoy Jupiter through binoculars, too. Through binoculars, you should be able to see Jupiter's four Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto and watch them change position from night to night.
Our moon appears near Jupiter from May 5-8. The moon joins Venus and Mercury in the eastern sky just before sunrise on May 22 and 23. And it pairs up with red Mars just after sunset in the west-northwest sky on May 26.
Saturn is now visible before midnight, rising around 11:30 p.m. in early May and by 9:30 p.m. later in the month. The best time to see Saturn is when it is highest in the sky. That's after midnight this month, before midnight in June, and by early evening in July. Through your telescope you may see some of Saturn's cloud bands and even a glimpse at Saturn's north polar region, so beautifully captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
You can catch up on solar systems (like Cassini) and all of NASA's missions at: www.nasa.gov
That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.