Tour May’s Sky! | May 1st, 2011

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S&T: Lauren Darby
You might want to make a habit of rising early this month. That’s because four planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter — are clustered low in the east before dawn. It’s the most compact gathering of bright planets in decades.

Day by day throughout the month, this foursome will do a slow-motion shuffle to form different combinations. On May 11th, Jupiter and Venus sit just ½° apart. On the 12th, all four are within a space of 6°.

The only bright planet missing from the predawn pileup is Saturn, and it’s very easy to spot. Just watch where the Sun sets and then turn completely around to face east.

Get the lowdown on these sky sights and more by downloading May's audio sky tour. It's a 4-megabyte MP3 file that's 6¾ minutes long.