Update! Mid-May 2020 Swan Song, ISS all-night, Venus/Mercury, Morning Planets

  • Summary:
  • Is Comet Swan going to re-brighten?. It’s low in the northeast just before sunrise. Also later in the month low in the northwest right after sunset.
  • This week, try for as many ISS overflights as you can see in a night – every 90 minutes or so for a few nights, then just in the evening sky. Check heavens-above.com or the NASA site for times.
  • Venus stands bright, but getting lower, in the west-northwest. Watch for Mercury’s pop-up appearance, arcing above Venus later next week. The very thin Moon joins them in twilight on the 24th/25th.
  • Jupiter and Saturn are still outstanding low in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Check out their moons! Mars socially distances to the left.

Comet SWAN: Another one falls to dust (I think there is a song there!). It may be showing signs of re-brightening. Best resource for SWAN is Astro Bob (no relation) at https://astrobob.areavoices.com/ .

ISS overflights! The night of the 15th /16th has as many as six (!) overflights, some better than others. Here’s a list from heavens-above.com for White Plains, NY. This is also a great night of ISS viewing for the northeast and middle-atlantic states of the USA. See heavens-above for times for your location. The ISS has a “high beta angle” near the summer solstice for the northern hemisphere. This year beta season is very early and here’s a link to why. Thanks to space station guys for the reference!

15 May-2.420:51:2310°S20:53:5420°SE20:56:2610°Evisible
15 May-2.822:27:1210°WSW22:30:2749°NNW22:33:4510°NEvisible
16 May-0.700:05:4010°NW00:07:5216°NNW00:10:0410°NNEvisible
16 May-0.501:43:4010°NNW01:45:4115°N01:47:4310°NEvisible
16 May-2.203:20:0110°NW03:23:1137°NNE03:26:2210°Evisible
16 May-2.804:56:5810°WNW04:59:5327°SW05:02:4810°SSEvisible
Times you can see the International Space Station from the NYC metro area.
Thanks to heavens-above.com !

The best overflight over NYC is on the 16th, overhead, across the Big Dipper, about 9:43pm. After the 19th, the overflights are after sunset through mid-night.

At Four-so-early-in-the-morning (Daylight Time), see the outer planets. (Pluto’s location marked for completeness. Not visible.)

4:30am Local Daylight Time sky May 16th. Good for rest of May
(However, the Moon will move on each day toward new moon on the 22nd.)

Cute break for today: When I wear my Planetary Society shirt, My two-year old grandchild points to the tiny dots at the bottom of the shirt, out beyond Neptune, and says “planets”. I guess she’s in favor of Kuiper-Belt objects as planets!

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