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May 2023 Celestial Calendar

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#1 Dave Mitsky

Dave Mitsky


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Posted 30 April 2023 - 11:01 PM

May Celestial Calendar by Dave Mitsky
All times, unless otherwise noted, are UT (subtract four hours and, when appropriate, one calendar day for EDT)
5/1   Mercury is in inferior conjunction at 23:00
5/2   The dwarf planet Pluto is stationary at 23:00
5/4   Mercury is at the descending node today; the Moon is at the descending node at 21:57
5/5   Today is Beltane, a cross-quarter day; a penumbral lunar eclipse begins at 15:13 and ends at 19:31; Full Moon, known as the Flower, Milk, or Planting Moon, occurs at 17:34
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 15:00
5/7   The Moon is 1.5 degrees north of the first-magnitude star Antares (Alpha Scorpii) at 13:00
5/9   Venus is 1.8 degrees north of the bright open cluster M35 in Gemini at 17:00; Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun at 20:00; Venus is at its greatest heliocentric latitude north (26.1 degrees) at 22:00
5/11 Moon is at perigee, subtending 32.4' from a distance of 369,343 kilometers (229,449 miles), at 5:05
5/12 Last Quarter Moon occurs at 14:28
5/13 The dwarf planet/asteroid 1 Ceres is stationary at 11:00; the Moon is 3 degrees south of Saturn at 13:00; the Curtiss Cross, an X-shaped clair-obscur illumination effect located between the craters Parry and Gambart, is predicted to be visible at 23:02
5/14 Mercury is at aphelion today; Mercury is stationary at 7:00
5/15 The Moon is 2 degrees south of Neptune at 1:00
5/17 A double Galilean shadow transit begins at 11:51; the Moon is 0.8 degrees north of Jupiter, with an occultation occurring in northwestern Russia, Scandinavia, the northern British Isles, Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland, most of North America, the northern Caribbean, and northern Central America, at 13:00; the Moon is at the ascending node at 19:36
5/18 The Moon is 4 degrees north of Mercury at 2:00
5/19 New Moon (lunation 1242) occurs at 15:53
5/21 A double Galilean shadow transit begins at 0:48
5/22 A double Galilean shadow transit begins at 19:17
5/23 The Moon is 2 degrees north of Venus at 12:00
5/24 The Moon is 1.6 degrees south of the first-magnitude star Pollux (Beta Geminorum) at 2:00; a double Galilean shadow transit begins at 13:46; the Moon is 4 degrees north of Mars at 18:00
5/26 The Moon is at apogee, subtending 29.5' from a distance of 404,509 kilometers (251,350 miles), at 1:39
5/27 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 6:41; First Quarter Moon occurs at 15:22
5/28 A double Galilean shadow transit begins at 2:43
5/29 Mercury is at greatest western elongation (24.9 degrees) at 6:00
5/30 Mars is at aphelion today
5/31 A double Galilean shadow transit begins at 15:50
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 is seriously affected by an almost Full 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 and rises prior to 3:00 a.m. local time. Southern hemisphere observers are favored. See https://earthsky.org...r-shower-guide/ and https://www.amsmeteo.../#eta Aquariids for additional information on the Eta Aquarids.
Information on passes of the ISS, the Tiangong, the USAF’s X-37B, the HST, the BlueWalker 3, Starlink, and other satellites can be found at http://www.heavens-above.com/
The Moon is 10.7 days old, is illuminated 76.7%, subtends 30.2 arc minutes, and is located in Leo on May 1st at 0:00 UT.  It’s at its greatest northern declination on May 23rd (+27.8 degrees) and its greatest southern declination on May 9th (-27.8 degrees). Longitudinal libration is at maximum (+4.7 degrees) on May 19th and at minimum (-5.3 degrees) on May 5th. Latitudinal libration is at maximum (+6.7 degrees) on May 11th and at minimum (-6.8 degrees) on May 25th. A deep penumbral lunar eclipse, the 24th of Saros series 141, takes place on May 5th. The eclipse is visible from eastern Europe, most of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. Greatest eclipse occurs over the Indian Ocean at 17:22 UT. The Curtiss Cross is visible on May 13th and the Lunar X on May 27th. The Moon is at apogee on May 5th and at perigee on May 17th. New Moon occurs on May 19th. The Hesiodus lunar crater sunrise ray is predicted to begin at 22:00 UT on May 28th. The Moon occults Jupiter on May 17th 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/5048 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/2023/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 major planets and Pluto on May 15th: Mercury on May 31st (magnitude +0.4, 7.9", 42% illuminated, 0.85 a.u., Aries), Venus (magnitude -4.2, 19.1", 60% illuminated, 0.87 a.u., Gemini), Mars (magnitude +1.5, 5.0", 92% illuminated, 1.86 a.u., Gemini), Jupiter (magnitude -2.1, 33.7", 100% illuminated, 5.86 a.u., Pisces), Saturn (magnitude +0.8, 16.7", 100% illuminated, 9.97 a.u., Aquarius), Uranus (magnitude +5.9, 3.4", 100% illuminated, 20.66 a.u., Aries), Neptune (magnitude +7.8, 2.2", 100% illuminated, 30.45 a.u., Pisces), and Pluto (magnitude +14.4, 0.1", 100% illuminated, 34.35 a.u., Capricornus). 
In the evening, Venus and Mars lie in the west. Mars is located in the west at midnight. Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune can be found in the east and Saturn in the southeast at dawn. 
For more on the planets and how to locate them, browse http://www.nakedeyeplanets.com/
Summaries on the planets for May can be found at https://skynews.ca/p...lance-may-2022/ and https://earthsky.org...saturn-mercury/
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/
A wealth of information on solar system celestial bodies is posted at http://www.curtrenz.com/astronomy.html and http://nineplanets.org/
Information on the celestial events transpiring each week can be found at http://astronomy.com/skythisweek and https://skyandtelesc...ky-at-a-glance/
Informative videos discussing astronomical objects worthy of observing each month can be found at https://solarsystem....ching/whats-up/ and https://hubblesite.o...es/tonights-sky
Free star maps for this month can be downloaded at http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html and http://whatsouttonight.com/
An online interactive star chart appears at https://skyandtelesc...tive-sky-chart/
Data on current supernovae can be found at http://www.rochester...y.org/snimages/
Information on observing some of the more prominent Messier galaxies is available at http://www.cloudynig...ur-astronomers/
Finder charts for the Messier objects and other deep-sky objects are posted at https://freestarcharts.com/messier and https://freestarcharts.com/ngc-ic and https://www.cambridg...kies_april-june
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
Steve Tonkin's The Binocular Sky Newsletter for May can be seen at https://binocularsky...r/BinoSkyNL.pdf
Author Phil Harrington offers an excellent freeware planetarium program for binocular observers known as TUBA (Touring the Universe through Binoculars Atlas) at http://www.philharrington.net/tuba.htm
Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel are useful freeware planetarium programs that are available at http://stellarium.org/ and https://www.ap-i.net/skychart/en/start
Deep-sky object list generators can be found at http://www.virtualcolony.com/sac/ and https://telescopius.com/ and http://tonightssky.com/MainPage.php
Freeware sky atlases can be downloaded at http://www.deepskywa...-atlas-full.pdf and https://www.cloudyni...kills/free-mag-
7-star-charts-r1021 and https://allans-stuff.com/triatlas/
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.

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