May Celestial Calendar by Dave Mitsky
All times, unless otherwise noted, are UT (subtract four hours and, when appropriate, one calendar day for EDT)
5/2 The Moon is 1.8 degrees south of Mercury at 14:00
5/4 The Moon is 0.01 degrees south of the dwarf planet/asteroid 1 Ceres, with an occultation occurring in western and southern India, portions of the Middle East, southernmost Europe, northern Africa, Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, and northeastern South America, at 14:00
5/5 Today is Beltane, a cross-quarter day; Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun at 7:00; the Moon is at apogee, subtending 29' 29'' from a distance of 405,285 kilometers (251,833 miles), at 12:46
5/6 The peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower (a zenithal hourly rate of 10 to 20 per hour for northern hemisphere observers) occurs at 8:00
5/8 The Lunar X (the Purbach or Werner Cross), an X-shaped clair-obscur illumination effect involving various rims and ridges between the craters La Caille, Blanchinus, and Purbach, is predicted to be visible at 9:07
5/9 First Quarter Moon occurs at 0:21
5/10 Mercury is stationary at 23:00
5/15 Venus is at aphelion today
5/16 A total lunar eclipse that's visible from Antarctica, South America, most of North America, western Europe, Africa, and the Middle East begins at 3:28 and ends at 4:54; Full Moon, known as the Milk or Planting Moon, occurs at 4:14
5/17 Mercury is at the descending node through the ecliptic plane today; the Moon is at perigee, subtending 33' 10'' from a distance of 360,301 kilometers (223,879 miles), at 15:27; Mars is 0.6 degrees south of Neptune at 23:00
5/21 Mercury is in inferior conjunction at 19:00
5/22 The Moon is 4 degrees south of Saturn at 5:00; Last Quarter Moon occurs at 18:43
5/24 The Curtiss Cross, an X-shaped clair-obscur illumination effect located between the craters Parry and Gambart, is predicted to be visible at 9:49; the Moon is 3 degrees south of Mars at 19:00
5/25 The Moon is 3 degrees south of Jupiter at 0:00; the Moon, Mars and Jupiter lie within a circle with a diameter of 3.3 degrees at 1:00
5/26 Mars is at its greatest heliocentric latitude south today
5/27 Mercury is at aphelion today; the Moon is 0.2 degrees south of Venus, with an occultation occurring in most of Micronesia, southeastern China, most of southeastern Asia, and southern Madagascar, at 3:00
5/28 The Moon is 0.3 degrees south of Uranus, with an occultation occurring in most of western Africa, the Cape Verde Islands, most of South America, and Easter Island, at 14:00
5/29 Mars is 0.6 degrees south of Jupiter at 0:00
5/30 New Moon (lunation 1230) occurs at 11:30
The first recorded perihelion passage of Comet Halley (1P/Halley) occurred on May 25, 240 BC. Thales of Miletus accurately predicted a solar eclipse on May 28, 585 BC. The German astronomers Gottfried and Maria Magarethe Kirch discovered the bright globular cluster M5 on May 5, 1702. On May 1, 1759, the English amateur astronomers John Bevis and Nicholas Munckley observed Comet Halley on its first predicted return. The French astronomer Charles Messier discovered the globular cluster M3 on May 3, 1764 and the globular cluster M10 on May 29, 1764. The Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis discovered asteroid 11 Parthenope on May 11, 1850. Asteroid 14 Irene was discovered on May 19, 1851 by the English astronomer John Russell Hind. The German astronomer Robert Luther discovered asteroid 26 Proserpina on May 6, 1853. The Australian astronomer John Tebbutt discovered the Great Comet of 1861 on May 13. The English astronomer Norman Pogson discovered asteroid 80 Sappho on May 2, 1864. Norman Pogson discovered asteroid 87 Sylvia on May 16, 1866. The 40-inch Clark refractor at the Yerkes Observatory saw first light on May 21, 1897. The Griffith Observatory opened to the public on May 14, 1935. Nereid, Neptune’s third-largest satellite, was discovered on May 1, 1949 by the Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper.
The broad peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower on May 6th is unaffected by a waxing crescent Moon this year. Eta Aquarid meteors are debris from the famous periodic comet 1P/Halley. The radiant is located close to the Water Jug asterism in Aquarius near the fourth-magnitude stars Gamma and Zeta Aquarii. Southern hemisphere observers are favored. See https://www.imo.net/...shower-in-2022/ and https://www.amsmeteo.../#eta Aquariids and page 49 of the May 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope for additional information on the Eta Aquarids.
Information on passes of the ISS, the Tiangong, the USAF’s X-37B, the HST, Starlink, and other satellites can be found at http://www.heavens-above.com/
The Moon is 29.6 days old, is illuminated 0.0%, subtends 30.1 arc minutes, and is located in Aries on May 1st at 0:00 UT. The Moon is at its greatest northern declination on May 6th (+26.9 degrees). The Moon is at its greatest its greatest southern declination on May 19th (-27.0 degrees). Longitudinal libration is at maximum (+6.7 degrees) on May 24th and at minimum (-7.0 degrees) on May 12th. Latitudinal libration is at maximum (+6.8 degrees) on May 22nd and at minimum (-6.8 degrees) on May 9th. Favorable librations occur for the following craters: Marinus (May 3rd), Neumayer (May 4th), Schluter (May 16th), and Main (May 18th). The Lunar X is visible on May 8th and the Curtiss Cross on May 24th. The Hesiodus lunar crater sunrise ray is predicted to begin at 00:12 UT on May 10th. The Moon is at apogee on May 5th and at perigee on May 17th. New Moon occurs on May 30th. A total lunar eclipse that's visible from the Middle East, Africa, western Europe, most of North America, South America, and Antarctica takes place on May 16th. Observers in the eastern United States have a more favorable view. Partial phases begin at 2:27:53 UT1 and end at 5:55:07 UT1. Greatest eclipse occurs at 4:12:42 UT1. For more on the eclipse, the 34th of 72 in Saros 131, see https://eclipse.gsfc...E2022May16T.pdf and the article on pages 48 and 49 of the May 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope. The Moon passes close to the bright open cluster M45 (the Pleiades) in Taurus at 13:00 UT on May 2nd, the first-magnitude star Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) at 6:00 UT on May 3rd, the bright open cluster M35 in Gemini at 4:00 UT on May 5th, the first-magnitude star Castor (Alpha Geminorum) at 18:00 UT on May 6th, the first-magnitude star Pollux (Beta Geminorum) at 0:00 UT on May 7th, the bright open cluster M44 (the Beehive Cluster) in Cancer at 4:00 UT on May 8th, the first-magnitude star Regulus (Alpha Leonis) at 0:00 UT on May 10th, the first-magnitude star Spica (Alpha Virginis) at 2:00 UT on May 14th, and the first-magnitude star Antares (Alpha Scorpii) at 5:00 UT on May 17th. The Moon occults 1 Ceres on May 4th, Venus on May 27th, and Uranus on May 28th from certain parts of the world. Browse http://www.lunar-occ...ota/iotandx.htm for information on lunar occultation events. Visit https://saberdoesthe...does-the-stars/ for tips on spotting extreme crescent Moons and https://curtrenz.com/moon.html for Full Moon and other lunar data. Go to https://skyandtelesc...ads/MoonMap.pdf and https://celestron-si...RReeves-web.pdf and https://nightsky.jpl...ObserveMoon.pdf for simple lunar maps. Click on https://astrostrona.pl/moon-map/ for an excellent online lunar map. Visit http://www.ap-i.net/avl/en/start to download the free Virtual Moon Atlas. Consult http://time.unitariu...moon/where.html for current information on the Moon and https://www.fourmila.../lunarform.html for information on various lunar features. See https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4955 a lunar phase and libration calculator and https://quickmap.lro...2vIBvAXwF1SizSg for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Quickmap. Click on https://www.calendar...lendar/2022/may for a lunar phase calendar for this month. Times and dates for the lunar crater light rays predicted to occur this month are available at http://www.lunar-occ...o/rays/rays.htm
The Sun is located in Aries on May 1st. It enters Taurus on May 14th.
Brightness, apparent size, illumination, distance from the Earth in astronomical units, and location data for the planets and Pluto on May 1st: Mercury (magnitude +0.4, 8.2", 33% illuminated, 0.82 a.u., Taurus), Venus (magnitude -4.1, 16.7", 68% illuminated, 1.00 a.u., Pisces), Mars (magnitude +0.9, 5.7", 89% illuminated, 1.63 a.u., Aquarius), Jupiter (magnitude -2.1, 34.8", 100% illuminated, 5.67 a.u., Pisces), Saturn (magnitude +0.9, 16.5", 100% illuminated, 10.08 a.u., Capricornus), Uranus on May 16th (magnitude +5.9, 3.4", 100% illuminated, 20.70 a.u., Aries), Neptune on May 16th (magnitude +7.9, 2.2", 100% illuminated, 30.41 a.u., Aquarius), and Pluto on May 16th (magnitude +14.3, 0.1", 100% illuminated, 34.06 a.u., Sagittarius).
In the evening, Mercury lies in the west. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune can be found in the east and Saturn in the southeast at dawn.
Mercury disappears into the evening twilight in early May. The waxing crescent Moon passes less than two degrees south of Mercury on May 2nd. The speediest planet is stationary on May 10th and is at the descending node through the ecliptic plane on May 17th. Mercury is at inferior conjunction on May 21st and is at aphelion on May 27th. An article on Mercury's gaseous tail appears on pages 52 and 53 of the May 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope.
Venus shines brightly at magnitude -4.1 for most of May. Its apparent diameter decreases from 16.7 to 13.8 arc seconds as its illumination increases from 68% to 78%. Venus is at aphelion on May 15th and is occulted by the waning crescent Moon from the eastern hemisphere on May 27th.
Mars undergoes close conjunctions with Neptune on May 17th and with Jupiter on May 29th. It passes less than a degree south of Neptune on May 17th. The Red Planet departs Aquarius and enters Pisces on May 19th. The waning crescent Moon passes three degrees south of Mars on May 24th. Mars and Jupiter are 2.4 degrees apart that morning. Mars is at its southernmost latitude from the ecliptic plane on May 26th. Mars grows increasingly nearer to Jupiter and passes just 35 arc seconds south of the gas giant planet on May 29th.
Jupiter brightens to magnitude -2.2 and grows in angular diameter from 34.8 to 37.2 arc seconds this month. The waning crescent Moon passes three degrees to the south of Jupiter on May 25th. On that date, the Moon, Mars and Jupiter lie within a circle with a diameter of a bit more than three degrees. Mars and Jupiter are separated by less than a degree on May 29th. Browse http://www.skyandtel...watching-tools/ in order to determine transit times of Jupiter’s central meridian by the GRS. GRS transit information also appears on pages 50 and 51 of the May 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope. A shadow transit by Callisto commences at 5:49 a.m. EDT (9:49 UT) on May 27th. Ganymede's shadow crosses the cloud tops of Jupiter beginning at 3:49 a.m. EDT (7:49 UT) on May 29th. Data on Galilean satellite events is available on page 51 of the May 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope and online at http://www.skyandtel...watching-tools/
Saturn rises at approximately 3:00 a.m. local time on May 1st and at 1:00 a.m. local time as the month ends. It shines at magnitude +0.8 and grows to an apparent equatorial diameter of 17.3 arc seconds by May 31st. The planet's ring tilt angle is 16 degrees, which is the minimum tilt angle for this year. The Last Quarter Moon passes four degrees south of the planet on May 22nd. For information on Saturn’s satellites, browse http://www.skyandtel...watching-tools/
Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun on May 5th and won't be visible again until the latter part of the month. Uranus is occulted by the Moon from some parts of the southern hemisphere on May 28th.
Neptune departs Aquarius and enters Pisces in early May. The eighth planet is in conjunction with Mars on May 17th.
The dwarf planet Pluto is still low in the south at the start of morning twilight.
For more on the planets and how to locate them, browse http://www.nakedeyeplanets.com/
The graphic at https://www.timeandd...lanets/distance displays the apparent and comparative sizes of the planets, along with their magnitudes and distances, for a given date and time.
The rise and set times and locations of the planets can be determined by clicking on https://www.timeandd...stronomy/night/
Asteroid 10 Hygiea shines at magnitude +9.3 as it heads northwestward through Virgo. Asteroid 4 Vesta lies just 0.7 degrees south of Saturn on May 6th. The seventh-magnitude main-belt asteroid remains within one degree of Saturn for several days. Asteroids brighter than magnitude +11.0 that reach opposition this month include asteroid 21 Luteia (magnitude +10.6) on May 2nd, asteroid 13 Egeria (magnitude +10.0) on May 4th, asteroid 10 Melpomene (magnitude +10.3) on May 5th, asteroid 156 Xanthippe (magnitude +10.8) on May 6th, and asteroid 26 Proserpina (magnitude +10.3) on May 21st. Click on http://www.asteroido.../2022_05_si.htm for information on asteroid occultations taking place this month. See https://www.curtrenz.../asteroids.html for additional current information on a number of asteroids.
Comet C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) travels northeastward from Taurus during May. It lies west of M45 on May 1st and southeast of the eclipsing variable star Algol (Beta Persei) on May 6th. C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) passes closest to the Earth on May 8th and west of the open cluster NGC 1528 in Perseus on May 10th. The Oort Cloud comet is located some three degrees from the well-known asterism Kemble's Cascade and the open cluster NGC 1502 in Camelopardalis from May 13th to May 15th. It passes 8.5 degrees southeast of the second-magnitude star Polaris (Alpha Ursae Minoris) on May 27th. A finder chart can be found on page 50 of the May 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope. Visit http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/ and http://www.aerith.ne...t/future-n.html and https://cobs.si/ for additional information on this and other comets visible this month.
Note: Comet C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) has probably disintegrated after passing within 0.29 astronomical units of the Sun at perihelion.
A list of the closest approaches of comets to the Earth is posted at http://www.cometogra.../nearcomet.html
Free star maps for June can be downloaded at http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html and https://www.telescop...thly-Star-Chart and http://www.kenpress.com/index.html
Data on current supernovae can be found at http://www.rochester...y.org/snimages/
Telrad finder charts for the Messier Catalog and the SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC are posted at http://www.custerobs...cs/messier2.pdf and http://www.star-shin...ssierTelrad.htm and https://www.saguaroa...k110BestNGC.pdf
Information pertaining to observing some of the more prominent Messier galaxies can be found at http://www.cloudynig...ur-astronomers/
Eighty binary and multiple stars for May: 1 Bootis, Struve 1782, Tau Bootis, Struve 1785, Struve 1812 (Bootes); 2 Canum Venaticorum, Struve 1624, Struve 1632, Struve 1642, Struve 1645, 7 Canum Venaticorum, Alpha Canum Venaticorum (Cor Caroli), h2639, Struve 1723, 17 Canum Venaticorum, Otto Struve 261, Struve 1730, Struve 1555, h1234, 25 Canum Venaticorum, Struve 1769, Struve 1783, h1244 (Canes Venatici); 2 Comae Berenices, Struve 1615, Otto Struve 245, Struve 1633, 12 Comae Berenices, Struve 1639, 24 Comae Berenices, Otto Struve 253, Struve 1678, 30 Comae Berenices, Struve 1684, Struve 1685, 35 Comae Berenices, Burnham 112, h220, Struve 1722, Beta Comae Berenices, Burnham 800, Otto Struve 266, Struve 1748 (Coma Berenices); h4481, h4489, Struve 1604, Delta Corvi, Burnham 28, h1218, Struve 1669 (Corvus); H N 69, h4556 (Hydra); Otto Struve 244, Struve 1600, Struve 1695, Zeta Ursae Majoris (Mizar), Struve 1770, Struve 1795, Struve 1831 (Ursa Major); Struve 1616, Struve 1627, 17 Virginis, Struve 1648, Struve 1658, Struve 1677, Struve 1682, Struve 1689, Struve 1690, 44 Virginis, Struve 1719, Theta Virginis, 54 Virginis, Struve 1738, Struve 1740, Struve 1751, 81 Virginis, Struve 1764, Struve 1775, 84 Virginis, Struve 1788 (Virgo)
Notable carbon star for May: SS Virginis
One hundred and sixty-five deep-sky objects for May: NGC 5248 (Bootes); M3, M51, M63, M94, M106, NGC 4111, NGC 4138, NGC 4143, NGC 4151, NGC 4214, NGC 4217, NGC 4244, NGC 4346, NGC 4369, NGC 4449, NGC 4485, NGC 4490, NGC 4618, NGC 4631, NGC 4656, NGC 4868, NGC 5005, NGC 5033, NGC 5297, NGC 5353, NGC 5354, Up 1 (Canes Venatici); Mel 111, M53, M64, M85, M88, M91, M98, M99, M100, NGC 4064, NGC 4150, NGC 4203, NGC 4212, NGC 4251, NGC 4274, NGC 4278, NGC 4293, NGC 4298, NGC 4302, NGC 4314, NGC 4350, NGC 4414, NGC 4419, NGC 4448, NGC 4450, NGC 4459, NGC 4473, NGC 4474, NGC 4494, NGC 4559, NGC 4565, NGC 4651, NGC 4689, NGC 4710, NGC 4725, NGC 4874, NGC 5053 (Coma Berenices); NGC 4027, NGC 4038-9, NGC 4361 (Corvus); M68, M83, NGC 4105, NGC 4106, NGC 5061, NGC 5101, NGC 5135 (Hydra); M40, NGC 4036, NGC 4041, NGC 4051, NGC 4062, NGC 4085, NGC 4088, NGC 4096, NGC 4100, NGC 4144, NGC 4157, NGC 4605, NGC 5308, NGC 5322 (Ursa Major); M49, M58, M59, M60, M61, M84, M86, M87, M89, M90, M104, NGC 4030, NGC 4073, NGC 4168, NGC 4179, NGC 4206, NGC 4215, NGC 4216, NGC 4224, NGC 4235, NGC 4260, NGC 4261, NGC 4267, NGC 4281, NGC 4339, NGC 4343, NGC 4365, NGC 4371, NGC 4378, NGC 4380, NGC 4387, NGC 4388, NGC 4402, NGC 4429, NGC 4435, NGC 4438, NGC 4517, NGC 4526, NGC 4535, NGC 4536, NGC 4546, NGC 4550, NGC 4551, NGC 4567, NGC 4568, NGC 4570, NGC 4593, NGC 4596, NGC 4636, NGC 4638, NGC 4639, NGC 4643, NGC 4654, NGC 4666, NGC 4697, NGC 4698, NGC 4699, NGC 4753, NGC 4754, NGC 4760, NGC 4762, NGC 4866, NGC 4900, NGC 4958, NGC 5044, NGC 5054, NGC 5068, NGC 5077, NGC 5084, NGC 5087, NGC 5147, NGC 5170, NGC 5247, NGC 5363, NGC 5364 (Virgo)
Top ten deep-sky objects for May: M3, M51, M63, M64, M83, M87, M104, M106, NGC 4449, NGC 4565
Top ten deep-sky binocular objects for May: M3, M51, M63, M64, M84, M86, M87, M104, M106, Mel 111
Challenge deep-sky object for May: 3C 273 (Virgo)
The objects listed above are located between 12:00 and 14:00 hours of right ascension.