May 2009

Lunar Events

The Full Moon for May occurs on May 8th and is known as the Full Flower Moon.  It is also known as the Corn Planting or Milk Moon.

The New Moon for May occurs on Sunday, May 24th.  This makes the Weekend of May 23rd-24th as the best weekend for Dark Sky Viewing.

May 28 - Moon and M44

On May 28th, the waxing, crescent moon set within 6°40′ of the
Beehive Cluster (M44).

Mercury

The planet Mercury is located in the constellation Taurus (The Bull) all month, but is only visible at the beginning and end of the month as it passes from evening to morning.  Mercury is found near the asterism Pleiades (M45) at the beginning of the month and is visible in the evening after sunset until May 9th when it disappears into the glare of the Sun.  Mercury reappears in the morning before sunrise around May 26th.



On May 7, Mercury begins retrograde motion until May 30th when it
resumes apparent East to West motion. The above movie shows the

path of Mercury during the month of May. Each frame is one sidereal day.

Venus

Venus is the Morning Star this month and can be found in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) for the entire month.  At the beginning of the month Venus is located between the planets Uranus, about 7°50′ to the east, and Mars, about 5° to the west.  During the month Venus and Mars travel west together as companions and by the end of the month when they are still only 5°20′ apart.

May 21 - Venus, Mars and Moon
In the early morning of May 21st the waning, crescent moon will rise
within 7°20′ of the pair of planets.

Mars



Mars is observable for the entire month of May in the morning
and is located between 5° and 5°20′ of the Morning Star, Venus,

this month. The above movie shows the motion of Mars and Venus
during the month of May. Each frame is one sidereal day.

Mars begins this month in the constellation Cetus (The Sea Monster) until May 4th when is crosses into the constellation Pisces.  Finally, at the end of the month, on May 31st, Mars crosses into the constellation Aries (The Ram).

Mars rises around 4:40 am (PDT) at the beginning of May and by the end of May rises around 3:40 am (PDT).

In the early morning of May 21st the waning, crescent moon will rise within 5°30′ of Mars.

Jupiter

The planet Jupiter is located in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until January 2010. Jupiter is visible in the very early morning hours this month, rising around 2:40 am (PDT) at the beginning of May and rising around 12:40 am by the end of the month.

The planets Jupiter and Neptune are close companions this month beginning the month less than 2°30′ from each other. Jupiter moves closer to Neptune until May 27 when it will pass within 0°25′ on Neptune. By the end of the month they will still be within 0°27′ of each other.

May 17 0 Jupiter, Neptune and Moon
On May 17th, around 1:50 am (PDT) The Last Quarter Moon will rise
within 3° of the Jupiter/Neptune pair
.

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Leo (The Lion) until September.  Saturn can be observed from the very early morning hours until sunrise. At the beginning of the month Saturn rises around 3:40 am (PDT) and by the end of May Saturn rises around 1:45 am (PDT).

May 3 - S2aturn and Moon
On the night of May 3rd the Waxing, gibbous moon will pass within
6°7′ of Jupiter.

May 31 - Saturn and Moon
On May 31st, in the very early morning Jupiter will set within 7° of the
First Quarter Moon.

Uranus

The planet Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until October and is visible in the morning hours of this month. At the beginning of May, Uranus rises around 4:05 am (PDT) and by the end of May it is rising around 2:10 am (PDT).

May 1 - Venus, Mars and Uranus

On May 1st,  Uranus can be located about 7°50′ to the east of the
Morning Star, Venus
.

Neptune

Neptune can be found in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until the year 2010.  In May, Neptune is observable in the morning, rising around 2:45 am (PDT) at the beginning of the month and by the end of the month rising around 12:50 am (PDT).


Neptune is in conjunction with the planet Jupiter for the entire month.
On May 1st, Jupiter are less than 2°30′ apart.  Jupiter moves closer

to Neptune until the end of the month when the are a mere 0°27′ from
each other!  If you can find Jupiter in the sky this month, it will be
easy to also find the planet Neptune. The above movie shows the

motion of Neptune and Jupiter during the month of May. Each frame
is one sidereal day.

May 17 - Jupiter, Neptune and Moon
On May 17th, around 1:50 am (PDT) The Last Quarter Moon will rise

within 3° of the Jupiter/Neptune pair.

Pluto

Pluto, still a planet in the hearts of Plutophiles everywhere, is located in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until the year 2023.  Pluto is observable from the late evening hours until sunrise in May. Pluto rises around 11:15 pm (PDT) at the beginning of the month and by the end of the month is rising around 9:15 am (PDT).

May 12 - Pluto and Moon
On May 12th a waning, gibbous moon passes within 10° of Pluto.

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