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Home / Explore / Experiences / RASC Observatory / Astronomy Info & Events: May

Astronomy Info & Events: May

Moon Phases

May 4: New Moon

May 11: First Quarter Moon

May 18: Full Moon (Flower Moon or the Frog Croaking Moon)

May 26: Last Quarter Moon

Special Events

International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes

Look for passes of the ISS all month long in our evening sky. 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 heavens-above.com or by using satellite tracking smart phone apps like Sputnik.

May 2: The SpaceX Dragon CRS-17 cargo spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station. The Expedition 59 crew will grapple it with the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 5 a.m. MDT (1100 GMT).

May 4: Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with You.

May 6: First day of Ramadan

  • Eta Aquarid meteors peak in the early morning hours.

May 10: Moon found in the Beehive Cluster (M44)

May 11: International Astronomy Day

  • Special events in and around the TELUS World of Science – Edmonton.
  • Extending evening observing at the RASC observatory until midnight tonight.

May 12: Mother’s Day

  • Lunar straight wall visible tonight!

May 13: Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Edmonton Centre meeting

  • 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. in the Zeidler Dome at the TELUS World of Science. Free to attend. Visit edmontonrasc.com for more information.

May 16: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Canadian Space Agency's Radarsat Constellation Mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

May 18: Seasonal Blue Moon. The Full Flower Moon will reach full phase at 3:11 p.m. MDT (2111 GMT). It will be the third full moon in one season, making it a special kind of "Blue Moon."

May 29: Arthur Eddington tested Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity at a solar eclipse 100 years ago today.

Visible Planets

Mercury is not seen from our latitude very easily as it is lost in the glare of the rising Sun along the eastern horizon early in the month. By the end of the month Mercury switches into our early evening sky but will be difficult to spot as it will be very low along the northwestern horizon and will be in the glare of the setting Sun.

Venus is located very low along the east-northeast horizon before sunrise during the month and hence may be difficult to see in the glow of the rising Sun. Observers in more southerly latitudes however will have a better view of Venus as Venus appears higher in the sky from those latitudes. On May 2 Venus can be found just above the very slim waning crescent Moon low along the eastern horizon before sunrise.

Mars is still found low in the western sky after sunset and begins the month located in the constellation of Taurus, the bull. By the middle of the month Mars moves into the adjacent constellation of Gemini, the twins. The waxing crescent Moon will be found near and below Mars on the evenings of May 6 and 7. Mars can be located at the midpoint of an imaginary line drawn from the bright star Capella to the bright star Betelgeuse.

Jupiter is the brilliant object located in the constellation of Serpens Cauda (part of Ophiuchus), the tail of the serpent, and is seen rising along the southeastern horizon around local midnight. By sunrise, Jupiter stands about 12 degrees above the south-southeastern horizon. Before sunrise on the mornings of May 20 and May 21, look for the waning gibbous Moon near the bright planet. Jupiter continues its retrograde motion this month as it moves toward its point of opposition on June 10 this year.

Saturn rises after midnight in the southeastern sky and is located in the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer. By morning, before sunrise, Saturn stands only 14 degrees above the southern horizon. The waning gibbous Moon can be seen near Saturn before sunrise on May 22 and May 23.