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The RASC supports a number of observing programs and initiatives designed to help members and others get the most out of their involvement with amateur astronomy. The RASC's Observing Certificate program provides you with a structured program that will allow you to explore the night sky and earn a certificate in the process. Observing sections allow members to find out more information about specialized observing topics. Finally, selected resources are provided to help you get the most out of your observing experience.

The RASC's Observing Programs are supported and managed by the RASC Observing Committee. Participation in this committee is welcome. To reach the committee you may e-mail the Observing Committee Chair.



The Solar System This Month

The Solar System: May 2015

The Moon

The Moon becomes full on May 4, and that evening it is within 2 degrees of Saturn just before midnight as the ringed planet rises.


Mercury appears in the western evening sky after sunset, getting higher and higher, until reaching greatest eastern elongation on the 17th and beginning its fall back toward the Sun.


Venus, the “Evening Star,” shines brightly in the west all month, with the Moon close by on the 21st.


Mars is not visible, being behind the Sun.


Jupiter is high in the western sky as the Sun goes down, setting about midnight, giving observers ample time to view the planet.


Saturn is a late riser in May, gradually getting earlier and earlier. By the 4th, the ringed planet is right by the nearly full Moon, and Luna joins in again on the 31st.


Uranus rises just about the time the sky brightens in the early morning dawn. Not a good target.

Neptune Neptune rises about an hour ahead of Uranus, so could be seen for that brief interval, but only with a moderate-sized telescope



*Jupiter image courtesy of