HYDE OBSERVATORY CLOSED AGAIN SATURDAY, MAY 16.  

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are again predicted for Saturday night.  Roads in Holmes Lake Park are open, but ground is  saturated so any rain will run off and go directly into area creeks and lakes.  Because of the potential weather threat, and  the fact that we cannot open the observing deck and use telescopes in such weather, we have decided to keep the observatory closed for another week.  We expect to re-open Saturday night, May 23.  Check our telephone service, 402-441-7094, or this website for the latest information.

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MAY  Program #1: “RING WORLD: THE STORY OF CASSINI”

As the ringed planet Saturn begins to dominate our evening sky, the Cassini probe continues its mission to examine Saturn and its mysterious moons.  Cassini went into orbit in the Saturn system in 2004, and has been delivering cutting-edge science and awe-inspiring images ever since.  This is Cassini’s story.   Running time:  About 21 minutes.

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MAY  Program #2:  “The Spring Constellations”

A tour of the evening sky above Lincoln, Nebraska during the warming Spring months:  In May, we begin to see the Milky Way and summer constellations rising in the east as comfortable evening temperatures arrive in Lincoln.  A great time to look at Lincoln skies!   Running time:  20 minutes.

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ALSO:  “Dawn at Ceres”

We will be tracking the scientific results of the Dawn space probe as it orbits the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.  Dawn has now tightened its orbit around Ceres and we expect to see spectacular images as NASA releases them in May.  And maybe we’ll learn more about those mysterious very bright spots on Ceres’s surface!  (Running time:  variable, depending upon NASA releases.)


VIEWING THESE OBJECTS IN THE HYDE TELESCOPES THIS MONTH:

Venus.  Shining brightly in the west after sunset, Venus gets nearly to its highest point, 38 degrees above the horizon.  It appears against the dark night sky after the last remnants of dusk, adding to its brilliance.

Mars.  Disappears into the sunset.  We won’t be looking at Mars again until next year.

Jupiter.  Visible all evening during May’s public Saturday nights.  Watch the Jovian moons dance around their parent planet.

Saturn.  Joins Jupiter in our night sky, and together the two gas giants dominate the Hyde telescopes.  Saturn, at magnitude 0.0, is the brightest it’s been in eight years.  That’s because the planet’s rings are tilted more than 24 degrees from edgewise.  A breathtaking sight.

The Moon.  Full on May 4.  For a few days afterward, the waning moon is good in telescopes, but it rises later each night taking it out of our evening sky.  New moon (the “dark of the moon”) is May 18th.  The following days are best for seeing the moon through a telescope because its crescent grows each night without getting so bright that it wipes out everything else in the sky.