The Visible Planets
Mercury is at its point of inferior conjunction on May 1, putting that planet in between the Sun and Earth on that date, and hence will not be visible. Mercury tries to move out of the Sun’s rising glow by the end of the month, but from our latitude, Mercury is just lost in the dawn’s light, remaining lost from view this month.
Venus is seen as the brightest object in the western sky after sunset, sitting about 25 degrees above the western horizon at sunset. Venus starts the month in the constellation of Taurus, between the horns of the bull, but moves quickly into the adjacent zodiac constellation of Gemini, the twins, on May 7. There is a nice pairing of bright Venus with the waxing crescent Moon after sunset on May 22. Look for the ruddy red planet Mars just a little further south of brighter Venus all month long.
Mars is visible low in the western sky after sunset this month. It begins the month just below the two stars, Castor, and Pollux, of the constellation of Gemini, but then moves into the adjacent zodiac constellation of Cancer, the crab, from May 16 onwards. After sunset on May 23 and May 24, look for a nice grouping of Mars with the waxing crescent Moon and the bright planet Venus above the western horizon.
Jupiter slowly rises out of the dawn glow, low along the east-northeastern horizon by the middle of the month. On May 17, Jupiter has a close conjunction with the waning crescent Moon. See if you can pick out this conjunction just before sunrise on that morning. At the end of the month, Jupiter is found within the constellation of Aries, the ram.
Saturn is found low in the southeastern sky in our predawn hours and is in the constellation of Aquarius, the water bearer. Look for the waning crescent Moon just below Saturn on May 13.
May 5 Full Moon (Flower Moon or the Frog Croaking Moon)
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse seen in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia!
Not visible from North or South America
May 12 Last Quarter Moon
May 19 New Moon
May 27 First Quarter Moon
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
Look for passes of the ISS in the morning predawn sky from May 1 to May 11. From May 12 to May 26, passes of the ISS can be seen throughout the night, with a few passes being visible each night. The ISS always moves in the starry sky from west to east. Exact times of these passages for your location can be found by visiting the website http://www.heavens-above.com or by using satellite tracking smart phone apps like Sputnik.
May ? Launch SpaceX Falcon 9, Axiom Space-2 (AX-2) Four space tourists to the ISS.
May 1 Mercury is at inferior conjunction
May 6 Eta Aquarid meteors peak in the early morning hours.
Zenith hourly rate of approximately 50 meteors/hour.
May 8 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Edmonton Centre meeting
Live in the Zeidler Dome at TWOSE and presented virtually through Zoom.
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 pm
Free for anyone to attend.
See http://www.edmontonrasc.com for more details.
May 9 Uranus in conjunction with the Sun
May 28 Lunar straight wall visible tonight
May 29 Arthur Eddington tested Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity at a solar eclipse 105 years ago today.