May 2008

Lunar Events

Since the new moon occurs on Monday, May 5th, 2008 the weekend of May 3rd-4th  will be the best for dark sky observing.

The full moon for this month occurs on May 19th and because it is the third Full Moon is a season with 4 Full Moons, it is known as the Blue Moon. For more information on the Blue Moon go here.

Mercury

Mercury is the Evening Star this month and begins the month in the proximity of Pleiades (M45) in Taurus and on May 2nd is merely 2° from the Pleiades asterism.  You can locate Mercury in the evening after sunset in the constellation Taurus, the Bull, all month. Mercury and Peiades

On May 6 Mercury is within 3° of the waxing, crescent moon.

On May 26th Mercury begin a retrograde motion toward the sun and by the end of the month Mercury will disappear into the glare of the sunset.

Venus

Venus ends as Morning Star

Venus ends its reign as the Morning Star around May 21st as it disappears into the glare of the sunrise. 

Venus Begins this month in the constellation Aries, the Ram until May 19th when it will move into the constellation Taurus, the Bull.

Mars

Mars is visible in the evening sky all month.  Beginning the month in the constellation Gemini, the Twins, Mars on May 5th, Mars moves into the constellation Cancer, the Crab, where it will spend most of the month.

On May 10th, Mars sets within 4° of the waxing, crescent moon.

Mars and Beehive Cluster

On May 22nd, Mars is located in the Beehive Cluster (M44).

At the beginning of the month, Saturn sets around 3:00am and by the end of the month, Saturn sets around 1:00am.

Jupiter

Jupiter and Moon

Jupiter is found in the constellation Sagitarrius, the Archer, until January 2009 and is observable from the middle of the night to morning hours all month.

On the morning of May 24th Jupiter will move within 3°10’ of the waning, gibbous moon.

At the beginning of the May, Jupiter rises around 1:00am and by the end of the month, Jupiter rises around 10:45pm.

Saturn

Saturn is located within 3° of the star Regulus, in the constellation Leo, the Lion, all month.  Saturn is located in Leo until the year 2009 and is viewable all month in the evening and mid-night hours.

At sunset on May 12, Saturn is with 4° of the waxing, gibbous moon.

At the beginning of the month, Saturn sets around 3:00am and by the end of the month, Saturn sets around 1:00am.

Saturn, Regulus and Moon

Uranus

Uranus is located in the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer, until the year 2009. This month Uranus is visible from the middle of the night to morning.

Uranus and Moon - May 1

May 1 - Uranus setting with waning, crescent moon.

Uranus has two conjunctions with the moon this month: the first occurring on May 1st, when the waning, crescent moon passes with 4°15’, and the second occurs on May 29th, when the waning, crescent moon passes within 3°30’ of Uranus.

Uraus and Moon - May 29

May 29 - Uranus rising with waning, crescent moon.

At the beginning of the May, Uranus rises around 4:00am and by the end of the month, Uranus rises around 2:00am.

Neptune

Neptune is found in the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat, until the year 2010. This month Neptune is visible from the middle of the night to morning.

Neptune and Moon

On May 27th, when the near quarter, waning, gibbous moon

rises within 3°30’ of Neptune.

At the beginning of May, Neptune rises around 2:45am and by the end of May, Neptune rises around 12:30am.

Pluto

The former planet, Pluto, is found in the constellation Sagittarius, the Archer, until the year 2023. This month Pluto is observable from the middle of the night to morning.

At the beginning of the month, Pluto rises around 11:00pm and by the end of May, Pluto rises around 9:00pm.

Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter

On May 15th, the relative positions of Pluto, Jupiter and Neptune.

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