Enjoy All That the Night Sky Offers

  • May 4, 5 - Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. It peaks this year on the night of 4th and morning of the 5th. The nearly full moon will be a problem this year, blocking out all but the brightest meteors. But if you are patient, you should still should be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • May 7 - Full Moon, Supermoon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 10:45 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. This moon has also been known as the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. This is also the last of four supermoons for 2020. The Moon will be near its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.

  • May 22 - New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 17:39 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • May 23 - Comet Atlas. Newly discovered comet Atlas will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 72 million miles (116 million kilometers). In the months following this close approach, the comet is expected to brighten. Although comets are extremely difficult to forecast, some astronomers believe that comet Atlas could brighten to a magnitude of between + 1 and -5. This could potentially make it the second brightest object in the night sky besides the moon.

from Sea & Sky


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