NASA Podcasts

What's Up for May 2011?
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What's Up for May? Planetary line-ups at dawn!

All month long watch four planets and the moon gather just before sunrise.

A pair of binoculars will help with the view.

Between the 7th and the 19th all four planets stay fairly close. After that, Jupiter rises higher in the sky, while Mercury disappears from view.

The slender crescent moon joins the planetary line-up once again from the 29th to the 31st. And don't forget to check out Saturn, the only planet visible in the evening sky now through August.

Did you know that every one of the terrestrial planets -- Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars plus our Moon and Jupiter's moon Io show evidence of volcanism?

To see volcanic evidence on Mercury, Venus and Io you'll need to look at space mission and telescope images. Volcanoes on Mars are challenging but not impossible to see through moderate-size telescopes. Even amateur astronomers have taken images or sketched those Martian volcanoes.

On our Moon, you can see evidence of past volcanic flows with your unaided eye. But you'll need a telescope to actually see the smaller volcanoes, domes, and lava tubes.

And, of course, there are Earth's often-spectacular volcanic eruptions.

You can read all about volcanoes in our solar system at for Year of the Solar System.

You can learn all about NASA's missions at

That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.

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