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May Day, May Day!


Now more commonly observed as a celebration of spring, in older times May 1st was considered the first day of summer in some European countries, with February 1 as the first of spring and June 21 marking midsummer.
Anniversaries: On May 5th 56 years ago, Alan Shepard was the first American to enter outer space. 51 years ago Neil Armstrong ejected safely from the ‘Flying Bedstead’ (a nickname for NASA’s Lunar Landing Research Vehicle) while training for his upcoming lunar mission.
Cassini starts its final orbits of Saturn. Last week, the Cassini mission flew its last orbit around Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Now it will spiral around Saturn, one orbit per week, between the innermost D-ring until September 15 when it finally plunges into Saturn. Cassini was launched from Earth in 1997, arrived at Saturn in 2004, and has been exploring there ever since.
Mars is holding on by its fingernails at sunset now (8:30p) along with Orion. Jupiter and Spica of Virgo ride the night sky together. Orange Arcturus is now well up in the east at sunset. The summer constellations and Saturn are above the horizon by midnight, while Saturn and Venus now bookend the 5 a.m. sky.



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