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hale to the stars I by alan hale

Omega Centauri

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or the past few months we have been able to view all five bright planets within the course of a single night, but that situation comes to an end during May, albeit only temporarily. Somewhat in exchange, our evening sky starts to become more populated with planets than it has been in quite some time. Mars continues to remain visible in our western sky during the evening hours, setting an hour or so after the end of dusk, although since it is now quite far from Earth it is not especially bright. Meanwhile, our solar system’s largest planet, Jupiter, rises in the east a little before the time Mars sets, and is highest above our southern horizon a couple of hours before the beginning of dawn. Saturn follows along about two hours after Jupiter and thus is at its highest above the southern horizon during dawn. After dominating the morning skies earlier this

year, Venus has now sunk into the dawn and does not rise very high above the eastern horizon before being overwhelmed by the brightening twilight. It remains in this configuration for another month or so before disappearing into the sunlight. One sort of decent meteor shower occurs during May: this is the Eta Aquarid shower, which peaks around the end of the first week of May and which can best be seen in the eastern sky before dawn. The Eta Aquarids come from grains of dust ejected from Halley’s Comet, and sky-watchers willing to be up before dawn may see up to 20 or 30 meteors per hour. The moon is as its “new” phase on May 4 and thus the skies should be relatively dark. One prominent constellation visible around midnight and during the early morning hours this month is Centaurus, the mythological centaur, which can be seen low in our southern skies above the southern horizon. Centaurus is home to a

The “globular star cluster” Omega Centauri, as imaged by the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Image courtesy European Southern Observatory. large “cluster” of stars known as Omega Centauri, which is the largest and brightest example of what is known as a “globular star cluster” in the entire sky. Omega Centauri is visible to the unaided eye as a dim fuzzy “star,” and studies indicate it may contain as many as ten million stars.

enchanted journeys: Submit your community event to: events@nmelectric.coop May 3-4 • Tucumcari Rawhide Days • Quay County Fair Grounds • 575-403-7274

May 5 • Pecos Lost Church Hike • Pecos National Historical Park • 505-757-7241

May 17 • Red River Bacon and Brews Festival • Red River Chamber of Commerce • 575-754-2366

May 25 • Mountainair Dark Sky Event The Abo’ Ruins • 505-847-2585

May 4 • Capitan Annual Plant & Garden Sale Capitan Public Library • 575-354-3035

May 5 • Truth or Consequences Truth or Consequences Fiesta Downtown • 575-894-1968

May 17-19 • Española 3rd Annual New Mexico Fiber Crawl Across Northern New Mexico • 505-747-3577

May 25-26 • Farmington Riverfest Berg and Animas Parks • 505-716-4405

May 4 • Gallup Mother’s Day Craft-tea! ART123 • 505-488-2136

May 11 • Velarde Prieta Petroglyph Project Public Tours Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project • 505-852-1351

May 18 • Raton World Migratory Bird Day Festival Sugarite Canyon State Park • 75-445-5607

May 25-26 • Wagon Mound Wagon Mound Art Fest • In the Village on Railroad Avenue • 575-668-2057

May 4 • Mora ConmeMORAción: Historic Cultural Event Mora High School Atrium • 575-387-6669

May 11-12 • Placitas 22nd Annual Placitas Studio Tour Artist Studios in Town • 505-515-4323

May 25 • Cerrillos Amigos Art in the Park Cerrillos Hills State Park • 505-474-0196

May 31-June 2 • Grants Seven Trails of Gold Outdoor Festival Fire & Ice Park • 505-285-3573

May 4-5 • Magdalena Magdalena Gallery & Studio Tour Village of Magdalena • 575-854-3253

May 16-18 • Ruidoso AspenCash Motorcycle Rally Ruidoso Convention Center • 575-258-5445

May 25 • Glenwood Glenwood Street Market • Mile Marker 51 on Highway 180 • 575-539-2373

June 1 • Magdalena Magdalena Frontier Festival North Main Street • 575-854-2261

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May 2019 • enchantment.coop

Profile for New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative

CVEC May 2019 enchantment  

CVEC May 2019 enchantment