Memorial Day weekend astronomy viewing guide
May 24, 2018; 10:06 PM
A very warm holiday weekend is expected across most of the United States. This means more people will be outdoors since perhaps last summer!
Stargazing is always a great way to spend time with others. It's free. And, it's even more fun when you know what you are looking at.
The easiest celestial targets this weekend are the planets. There are 4 planets that are extremely easy to find.
Venus has been an "evening star" all Spring. You can find it above the western horizon until around 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. local time.
While you can only catch Venus for a couple of hours in the evening, you have all night to watch Jupiter. Jupiter just passed it's closest point to Earth for 2018. It will be in the sky the entire night through most of the summer. It is easy to spot, it shines brighter than any star in the night sky.
Saturn and Mars can be seen near each other after midnight. Mars will start grabbing headlines as we head deeper into summer. It will make one of it's closest ever known passes to Earth in July. It is starting to brighten now, but will become extremely bright by mid summer. For now, look for it after Midnight not far from Saturn. Oh, and by the way, we will make our closest approach to Saturn in late June.
The moon will wash out most of the stars shown in the background, but the planets will be easily seen despite the bright moonlight.
It will be tough to spot meteors this week due to the bright moonlight. But, there are a few active showers. Read more about the prospects of meteors in the weekly update from Bob Lunsford the American Meteor Society
If you are looking to dive deeper into your viewing, check out EarthSky Tonight. They do a wonderful job giving fresh ideas for viewing every night!
Not too many things are free anymore; however, looking at the night sky is still one of those things. Thanks for reading! Just look up; you never know what you will see.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com