Evening sky in MAY 2013
Both the largest and smallest of the 88 constellations (as officially decided upon by the International Astronomical Union in 1930) are well-placed for viewing. The largest, Hydra, the Water Snake, forms an arc overhead, covering more than 100 degrees of sky. The smallest is Crux, the Southern Cross, high in the south, with the Cross in an upright position. Its three brightest stars were known to the /Xam Bushmen as lionesses and the nearby Pointers (Alpha and Beta Centauri) as male lions.
Planet Saturn moves from Libra (the Scales), just above Scorpius in the east, into Virgo (the Maiden). Look for planets Jupiter and Venus in Taurus, the Bull, low in the northwest after sunset. Toward month-end they are joined by planet Mercury to form a bright trio in the early evening sky.
The Moon is in the evening sky from May 12 until May 28. Early in the morning on May 25 the Moon just grazes the shadow of the Earth for a penumbral (lunar) eclipse, but it is poorly placed for viewing from South Africa. On May 10 an annular solar eclipse takes place, but is only visible from Oceania and the southern Pacific Ocean.
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