Cooling Neutron Star—The bright source near the center is a neutron star, the incredibly dense, collapsed remains of a massive stellar core. Surrounding it is supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A), a comfortable 11,000 light-years away. Light from the Cas Asupernova, the death explosion of a massive star, first reached Earth about 350 years ago.
Magic Tree House: Space Mission
WHEN: Saturdays, May 6 & 13, 3 p.m
Laser Pop Rock
WHEN: Saturdays, May 6 & 13, 4 p.m.
(For ages 5 and up. Check our website for descriptions of shows)
Rockin' Rocket Ride
WHEN: Saturday, May 20 at 3 p.m.
WHEN: Saturday, May 20 4 p.m.
(For ages 3-8. Check our website for descriptions of shows)
Adult Astronomy Shows Saturdays
WHEN: 7:00 pm May 6
WHEN: 7:00 pm May 13 & 20, 7 p.m
(Check our website for full details of shows and age recommendations)
Adult Laser Shows Saturdays:
WHEN: 8:00 pm May 6 & 20
Laser NJ Rocks
WHEN: 8:00 pm May 13
(Click our website for full details and age recommendations)
Weather permitting, the 3M Observatory will be open to the public on Saturday evenings from sunset to about 9:15 p.m.
Sensory Friendly Show:
The Sky Above
WHEN: Saturday, May 6 at 5:00 pm
A Sensory-Friendly show for visitors with Autism or other developmental disabilities. Doors remain open. Lights are kept dim instead of being turned off.
Enjoy a trip through our solar system with a family who is looking for the perfect vacation destination. Material is presented on a 1st - 4th grade level.
What's up in the Sky?
Evening Planets: Jupiter dominates the evening sky this month. Look for the giant planet in the southwestern sky after sunset at the start of the month. By the end of the month,
Jupiter is in the south at mid-twilight. Watch the gibbous moon pass
Jupiter on May 7.
Mars can be found low in the WNW sky in the evening twilight. Mars passes to the upper right of the star Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull on May 5. Mars is now fainter than the star due to its distance from us on the far side of the solar system. At mid-month, Mars is 2.5 astronomical units or 230 million miles away from Earth.
By the last week of May, Saturn rises just before the end of the astronomical twilight.
Morning Planets: Venus shines brightly, low in the eastern sky. Venus rises about an hour before sunrise. Look for the waning crescent Moon and Venus on May 22. Try looking for Venus in the daytime. Keep watching Venus as the sun rises. The view through binoculars or a telescope shows Venus growing from a 27% crescent to a 48% crescent throughout morning. Find Mercury to the lower left of Venus starting in the second week of May. The low angle of the ecliptic keeps Mercury close to the horizon throughout its apparition. Many of our diagrams showing Mercury in the morning sky depict the scene 30 minutes before sunrise. Since the sky is bright at the time, start looking for Mercury with binoculars about 15 minutes earlier. Mercury will be lower, but the sky will be darker. Saturn can be seen in the SSW dawn sky in May. It will move to the southwest dawn by the end of the month.
The Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower peaks on the night of May 5 into the morning of May 6. Look for the waxing gibbous moon that will interfere with the faint meteors until the predawn hours of May 6.
The Purseus Cluster Waves
The cosmic swirl and slosh of giant waves in an enormous reservoir of glowing hot gas are traced in this enhanced X-ray image from the Chandra Observatory. The frame spans over 1 million light-years across the center of the nearby Perseus Galaxy Cluster, some 240 million light-years distant. Like other clusters of galaxies, most of the observable mass in the Perseus cluster is in the form of the cluster-filling gas. With temperatures in the tens of millions of degrees, the gas glows brightly in X-rays. Computer simulations can reproduce details of the structures sloshing through the Perseus cluster's X-ray hot gas, including the remarkable concave bay seen below and left of center. About 200,000 light-years across, twice the size of the Milky Way, the bay's formation indicates that Perseus itself was likely grazed by a smaller galaxy cluster billions of years ago.