May 2018 Astronomy Calendar
The Moon and Planets Play Tag
May will be an exciting month full of Lunar-Planetary conjunctions for both evening and morning stargazers. The Moon will be chasing all four bright planets across the evening and mornings skies.
Morning Stargazers will continue to be treated to Saturn and Mars all month long. Look for Jupiter to rise earlier each evening, with opposition on May 9th - it's best and brightest of the year.
Venus will continue shining brightly all month long, moving gradually higher in the evening sky, with another beautiful Lunar conjunction on May 17th.
The annual Eta Aquarids meteor shower, with up to 30 meteors per hour, will be hampered by the Waning Gibbous Moon 30° to the West of the shower radiant.
May 5: Conjunction of The Moon, Saturn, and Mars
A beautiful trio! In the early morning, look for a lineup of Mars, the 75% illuminated Moon, and Saturn. The trio will rise at about 1:30 AM MT.
May 6: Moon-Mars Conjunction
One day after the trio with Saturn, the Moon and Mars will be just 2.5° apart in the morning sky, as Mars moves West while the Moon moves East.
May 6-7: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
This shower runs from mid-April through late May. The peak will be the early morning of May 7th with up to 30 meteors per hour in the northern hemisphere. The 56% illuminated Moon, rising at about 2:AM, will wash out many of the fainter meteors this year. The radiant of the shower will rise at 3:AM. The Eta Aquarids are produced from the dust trail of comet Halley.
May 9: Jupiter at Opposition
Jupiter will be at its biggest and brightest for the year on the evening of May 9th. Jupiter will continue to be a bright sight all summer as it rises earlier each evening.
May 13: Mother's Day
No special astronomical events - the attention should be on Mom! Start with breakfast in bed, for her. If you need an out of this world gift, like a meteorite necklace, see our Mother's Day Gifts. Flowers are usually good, too.
May 15: New Moon
The perfect time to get out of town and enjoy some truly dark skies. Jupiter will be rising as the Sun sets. Look for the Beehive Star Cluster in the constellation Cancer. This is a perfect object for binoculars and small telescopes.
May 17: Moon-Venus Conjunction
If you missed the last one in April, here is another great chance to see a 9.4% illuminated crescent Moon paired with Venus in the evening sky after sunset. The pair will be about 6.5° apart. Below is a photograph from the April conjunction.
May 27: Moon-Jupiter Conjunction
The almost full Moon will be rising with Jupiter just before sunset.
May 29: Full Moon
May 31: Moon-Saturn Conjunction
Rising a little after 10:00 PM, the Moon and Saturn will be just under 3° apart.
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All times unless otherwise indicated are Mountain Time. Sky charts were generated with Sky Safari Pro for an observer in Denver, Colorado.