Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sky Events May 2016

Moon Phases

Friday, May 6, 3:30 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.

Friday, May 13, 1:02 p.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 12:30 p.m. and sets around 2:30 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Saturday, May 21, 5:14 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The May Full Moon is known as the Milk Moon, Flower Moon, or Corn Planting Moon. It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is 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.

Sunday, May 29, 8:12 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 1:45 a.m. and sets around 1:15 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Observing Highlights

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Saturday, May 7, 12:39–1:42 a.m. EDT

Shadows of Io and Callisto cross Jupiter simultaneously. The Sun is behind us to the right, and Io is much closer to Jupiter than Callisto, so that its shadow is much closer to the moon casting it.

Transit of Mercury

Monday, May 9, 7:12 a.m.–2:42 p.m. EDT

For 7 1/2 hours, Mercury will be visible crossing the face of the Sun. A telescope with proper solar protection and magnifying at least 60 times is needed to see Mercury’s tiny disk.

Jupiter 2 degrees north of Moon

Sunday, May 15, 2 a.m. local time

The waxing gibbous Moon will pass just south of Jupiter.

Mars at opposition

Sunday, May 22, 7 a.m. EDT

Mars is directly opposite the Sun in the sky, and is visible all night long.

Mars closest to Earth

Monday, May 30, 6 p.m. EDT

Because of Mars’ elliptical obit, it is actually closest to Earth 8 days past opposition. This is the closest Mars has been to Earth since 2005.


Mercury transits in front of the Sun on May 9. It will be well placed in the morning sky for observers in the Southern Hemisphere after May 19.

Venus is too close to the Sun to be observed.

Mars is in opposition to the Sun on May 22, and closest to Earth on May 30. This is generally a good apparition, but Mars is low in the southern sky for northern observers. It is visible all night in Scorpius.

Jupiter is well placed in the evening sky in Leo. It sets around 3 a.m.

Saturn is well placed in Ophiuchus, rising in late evening. Its rings are now spread widely, making it a beautiful sight in a small telescope.

Uranus is low in the eastern sky in Pisces, rising just before the Sun.

Neptune is in the eastern morning sky in Aquarius.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
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