The Delta Aquariid meteor shower is well positioned in the southeast on the morning of the 30th.
While this shower is not quite as prolific as others, it is positioned to give us a good view. The peak of the shower will occur around 1 a.m. on the 30th, local Daylight Saving Time.
Observers in southern latitudes will have the best view and can expect to see about 25 meteors per hour. Given a nice, clear night, we here in the U.S. could expect perhaps 15 per hour.
The radiant of the shower is in the constellation Aquarius.
If you are not familiar with the constellation, don’t worry. There is an easy way to find the radiant.
The planet Jupiter will be visible to the left of Aquarius. Find Jupiter, then look about 10 degrees (one fist width at arm’s length) to the right and you should be positioned on the radiant.
Jupiter rises in the southeast well before midnight local Daylight Saving Time. Shining at magnitude -2.4, you should be able to view its four large moons with binoculars or a small telescope.
Saturn precedes Jupiter in the southeast by about an hour and you should also be able to view its magnificent rings.
Mercury will still be visible on the 1st, just above the eastern horizon. But it is sinking fast and will soon be lost to our view as it approaches conjunction with the Sun.
Venus is also moving slowly toward the eastern horizon but is higher and therefore more easily viewable in the early morning sky.
Our morning parade of planets is still visible but now spans about 118 degrees of sky from the east to the southeast. From left to right, we can still see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
The Moon will be first quarter on the 7th, full on the 13th, last quarter on the 20th and new on the 28th. Looking southeast on the 16th, about 45 minutes before sunrise, the waning gibbous Moon will be just to the left of Saturn.
Again, looking southeast on the 19th, about an hour before sunrise, the Moon will be slightly below and to the left of Jupiter.
On the 21st, once more we look to the southeast about an hour before sunrise. This time we find the Moon just to the right of Mars.
Finally, on the 26th, about 45 minutes before sunrise, the thin sliver of the crescent Moon will be just above and slightly left of brilliant Venus.
There will not be a first Saturday star party at the Etscorn Campus Observatory this month.
New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club