Are you taking part in the Big Camp Out for the Hospice of Wales this weekend? Argus columnist Jon Powell takes a look at what you'll be able to see in the night skies.

In the evening sky

FIRST of all locate Venus, a very bright object low in the west north-west just after sunset.

Once you've found Venus, allow the skies to darken a little before looking for Mercury, a fainter point of light up and to the right of Venus.

Over to the far left will be the crescent moon, just a couple of days old, and together with Venus and Mercury make for a wonderful sight before darkness falls.

The gathering in the evening sky is completed by the star Capella, over and up to the right of Venus.

Capella lies in the constellation of Auriga the Charioteer, and is the biggest and brightest yellow star in our skies.

Capella is the Latin for Nanny Goat, and during the winter months the star can be seen positioned almost directly overhead.


Spotting the International Space Station

Watch for a point of light slowly travelling across the night sky.

The ISS generates no light of its own - what you are seeing is reflected sunlight.

There are three astronauts onboard at present, Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy, Anatoly Ivanishin, and Ivan Vagner.

The crew have been onboard the ISS for 43 days, as of Friday, May 22.

When you can see it:

  • Friday, May 22: 10.05pm. Rises in the west, sets in the east. On view for six minutes.
  • Friday, May 22: 11.42pm. Rises in the west, sets in the southeast. On view for five minutes.
  • Saturday, May 23: 10.54pm. Rises in the west, sets in the southeast. On view for six minutes.
  • Sunday, May 24: 10.06pm. Rises in the west, sets in the east. On view for six minutes.

In the morning sky

A trio of planets adorn the morning sky.

Jupiter will appear as the brightest of three, positioned to the far right.

Saturn comes next, slightly dimmer, positioned to the left of Jupiter, with Mars to the the left of Saturn.

The Big Sleep Out

The Hospice of the Valleys provides specialist palliative care in Blaenau Gwent, and is encouraging people to set up a tent in their own gardens this weekend.

Amanda Chard, events fundraising manager for Hospice of the Valleys, said: “The demand on our services has not gone away as we continue with our day to day support and also deal with Covid-19 on top of this.

"As all of our charity shops are closed and our voluntary income has significantly decreased, we need the support of the local community now more than ever before.”

During this pandemic, hospice staff are continuing to work alongside the NHS providing support in the community, at patients' homes, in hospital or in one of fourteen local care homes.

It typically costs £150 for a member of Hospice at Home staff to provide care and support during the night, enabling the patient’s carer and family to grab a night's sleep.

They are offering telephone support and where possible using technology to keep in touch with people.

The team is also offering emotional support to staff in the local nursing and care homes during these stressful and worrying times.

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