Starwatch for May 2024

Written by on May 17, 2024

Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ and the National Space Society, bringing you the May Starwatch for WNTI- the Sound of Centenary.

I’m in a special location. As I look around, the houses are arranged in neat patterns – surrounded by beautiful trees and shrubbery. It looks like a typical well-groomed community.  But looking more closely,  . There are no highways or cars, and I also feel lighter as I go into different areas.

Actually, this community is part of a futuristic orbiting space settlement at a point in space between the Earth and the Sun.  It has about 1000 inhabitants supported by an Earth-like atmosphere, and supported by self-sustaining agriculture and a supply of reproducing animals for food.  Cycles of day and night are regulated by computers controlling external mirrors that reflect sunlight.  Artificial gravity is made by using centripetal force created by spinning the settlement at just the right rate. People can live in this orbiting city like any place on Earth. There’s a good chance it will become a reality in the future.

In the meantime, we can gaze in the night sky at some possible locations for space colonization. This month, among the visible planets, only 3 of the 5 are visible – and only before sunrise. At that time, if you look to the east, you’ll see lined up from lower left to upper right both Mercury and Mars in Pisces, and Saturn in Aquarius. Venus and Jupiter are not visible.

So some time in the future, your gaze into the night sky will take you to a place in the heavens where a group of humans will have planted a space city among the stars.

Until our next Starwatch –  Don’t forget to check out … What’s up in the night sky!

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