Monday, May 6, 2013

Sky Events May 2013


Moon Phases

Thu., May 2, 7:14 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The last or third quarter moon rises around 2 a.m. and sets around 1 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Thu., May 9, 8:28 p.m. EDT

New Moon

The moon is not visible on the date of new moon because it is too close to the sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after new moon.

Sat., May 18, 12:34 a.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The first quarter moon rises around 1 p.m. and sets around 2 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Sat., May 25, 12:25 a.m. EDT

Full Moon

The full moon of May is called the Milk Moon. Its Cree name is Aligipizun, meaning “Frog Moon.” Other names are Corn Planting Moon, Corn Moon, Hare Moon, and Flower Moon. In Hindi it is known as Buddha Poornima. Its Sinhala (Buddhist) name is Vesak. The full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Thu., May 31, 2:58 p.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

This is the second last quarter moon this month. It rises around 1 a.m. and sets around 1 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Observing Highlights

Fri., May 10

Annular Solar Eclipse

An annular solar eclipse will be visible in a narrow path stretching from central Australia across the south Pacific Ocean. Partial phases of this eclipse will be visible over a much larger area. This is how it will look at maximum eclipse in Cooktown, Australia.

Sat., May 11, after sunset

The moon framed by Jupiter and Venus

Venus has now moved into the evening sky, and tonight it and Jupiter frame the slender crescent moon.

Wed., May 22, before sunrise

Spica near the moon

The moon will move closer to the bright star Spica all night long, getting closest just around the time the moon sets. As seen from southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia, northeastern Australia, and Polynesia, the moon will actually pass in front of Spica.

Thu., May 23, before sunrise

Saturn near the moon

The following night, the moon will move closer to Saturn, again getting closer all night.

Fri., May 24, after sunset

Venus and Mercury in conjunction

Venus and Mercury are in close conjunction, with Jupiter a few degrees away.

Sun., May 26, after sunset

Planetary triangle

Three bright planets, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter, form a 2-degree equilateral triangle in the western sky just after sunset.

Tue., May 28, after sunset

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction

The three planets rearrange themselves so that Jupiter and Venus are only a degree apart, with Mercury just above.


Mercury will be in the western  sky at sunset for the last week of May, moving towards maximum elongation on June 12. Although only an average apparition of Mercury, its proximity to the brighter planets Venus and Jupiter will make Mercury easier than usual to spot. In particular it will be in close conjunction with Venus on May 24.

Venus is now an “evening star” setting just after the sun.

Mars is on the far side of the sun, not visible this month.

Jupiter continues its stay in Taurus. It is low in the western sky at dusk, and sets soon afterwards.

Saturn is just past opposition near the border between Libra and Virgo. It is visible most of the night.

Uranus is in Pisces, rising just before the sun.

Neptune is in Aquarius all month, visible in the morning sky.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2013 Starry Night Software