Skywatch: Look for meteors under a dark sky


The ringed planet will take a “pause” in the sky at around 10 p.m. Monday night. Saturn will be “stationary” at that point.

Courtesy: NASA

When planets move through the night sky they can be in direct or retrograde motion. That basically means they move with or against the backdrop of the stars. When a planet moves switches from direct, or prograde, to retrograde motion it is said to be stationary.

Look for Saturn in the southern sky on Tuesday morning.

While you’re at it look for the old moon and the planet Venus. The pair will be in the eastern sky a little more than a half hour before sunrise. You’ll need a clear view of the horizon to see the two but if you do catch them you’ll be looking at the two brightest objects in the sky (at that moment, once the sun pops up it outshines everything else).

Later on in the week the moon, Mercury and Venus will all be very close. Again they’ll be in the east about a half hour or so before sunrise and again you’ll need a clear view of the horizon to see the trio.

As I mentioned earlier we have an old moon this week and that’s good news for the Eta Aquariid meteor shower. It’s expected to peak on the morning of May 5 or May 6 but it has a broad peak which means you could see some meteors on Saturday morning. Get to a dark spot, far from the city and look in the east a few hours before sunrise for the best show.

The New Moon arrives on Saturday evening at 6:46 p.m. which means we’ll have less light pollution and it will mean the Eta Aquariids will be easier to see when the shower peaks early next week. Happy hunting!