Jeffers Foundation

ASTRONOMY

Astronomy

May, 2018

Highlights
Highlights
Leo and the stars of spring are prominent in the south as darkness falls, but you may notice that stars are sparse. At this time of year we are looking out the top of our Milky Way galaxy. Notice the galaxy is nowhere to be seen, lost in the glare of the horizon. The plane of that enormous disk of stars is lined up with our horizon at this time of year. While our galaxy is 100,000 light-years across, the disk of our galaxy is only 1000 light-years thick, causing this noticeable lack of stars in the evening sky.

Morning Sky

Mercury starts the month low in the pre-dawn sky and starts its trek around the back of the Sun, getting lost in the morning glare by month's end. Mars, Saturn, Juptier, and the Moon will make a long line across the southern horizon, spanning 65 degrees and visible after 2 am. The Moon closes in on Saturn early in the morning on May 4, and then on Mars May 6. The Moon will make another Saturn pass, within one degree, on May 31.

Evening Sky

The month begins with Venus putting on a show in the evening sky that will last all summer. Appearing west-northwest at 14 degrees above the horizon one hour after sunset, Venus will get brighter as it moves around the back of its orbit. The Moon will appear next to it on May 17. Jupiter will be at opposition on May 9, rising in the east at sunset and staying up all night long. This will be its closest approach to Earth, and the best time to view it through a telescope. Even a good pair of binoculars is adequate to see its four large Galilean Moons. The Moon will make a close pass on May 27.

Sun Declination

PHENOMENA

5th, Moon apogee (251,318 miles) - 7:35 pm

6th, Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower peark - 2:53 am

7th, Last Quarter Moon - 9:09 pm

12th, Mercury 2.40 degrees south of Uranus - 6:01 pm

15th, New Moon Budding Plants (Ojibwe)

16th, Moon near Aldebaran rising in east - 6:56 am

17th, Moon perigee (226,040 miles) - 4:04 pm

21st, First Quarter Moon - 10:49 pm

29th, Full Moon - 9:19 am

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