May 2023 Night Sky


It is already May, hopefully we have seen the last of those April showers and can look forward to some more clear nights. Speaking of which, here is a great resource for astronomical weather that the author finds useful: Astrospheric

There are lots of other sites with similar levels of detail, but not many of them manage to do it while looking great too!

What’s in the sky

    Venus continues to dominate the early evening and Mars is still up there too following the Gemini twins across the sky, not setting until around 1 am. For the early risers or all-nighters, look for Saturn getting higher in the pre-dawn sky and appearing earlier until rising before 2 am at the end of the month. Jupiter will be following Saturn in rising just before dawn around the middle of the month.

    The Moon will be full on the 5th with the new moon on the 19th. The Moon as so often is the case will be overshadowing the Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower which peaks on the 6th. The best chance of seeing something is to look east around 4:40 on May 2nd just after the Moon as set.

    As usual, here are some observing calculations excerpted from Jeff’s Corner

    The Sun
      May  7  will rise at 6:04 AM, will set at 8:06 PM
    The Moon
      May  5  Full Moon
      May 12  Last Quarter
      May 19  New Moon
      May 27  First Quarter
      May  1  Mercury is in inferior conjunction (Mercury between Earth and the Sun)
      May  5  Penumbral lunar eclipse (visible in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa)
      May  6  The eta-Aquarid meteor shower peaks (active Apr 19 to May 28)
      May  9  Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun (from Espenak)
      May 29  Mercury is at greatest western elongation (from Espenak)
    The Planets
                           May  7                          
                  rises  transits      sets       
      Mercury   5:45 AM  12:30 PM   7:15 PM     
      Venus     8:31 AM   4:08 PM  11:44 PM     
      Mars     10:22 AM   5:46 PM   1:12 AM    
      Jupiter   5:19 AM  11:53 AM   6:27 PM    
      Saturn    3:14 AM   8:41 AM   2:08 PM     
                mag   diam  notes for May  7            
               ----  -----  ----------------             
      Mercury   3.8  11.9"                                
      Venus    -4.2  18.0"  W, 39*                       
      Mars      1.4   5.2"  WSW, 56*                     
      Jupiter  -2.1  33.4"                                
      Saturn    1.0  16.4"                                
      (* degrees elevation at sunset taking into account atmospheric refraction)
      (mag = apparent magnitude, diam = apparent equatorial angular diameter)
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