Astronomy Events – May 2013


by yaska77

Hot on the heels of an unexpected break in the weather (allowing us to see April’s partial eclipse of the Moon) we’re eager to get stuck in to another new month of astronomical events!

Now spring has finally arrived in the UK we’re hoping to be able to get some new images to show you, and if you get any snaps yourself please feel free to tweet them to us.  Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to?

Thursday 2nd May – The Moon is at Last Quarter phase today

Monday 6th May – The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks early this morning (01:30 UTC/02:30 BST) with an expected ZHR of 10 meteors per hour as viewed from the UK (observers from more southern latitudes could see up to 55 per hour).  Appearing to originate from the constellation Aquarius (hence the name), Aquarids are known for bright tails left by fast moving meteors

Aquarid Meteor Radiant 06052013 02.30 UTC
Shown above at 02:30 UTC/03:30 BST on 6th May, the Aquarid meteor shower will be active from the end of April until the end of May (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Thursday 9th – Friday 10th May – An annular solar eclipse occurs today when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than that of the Sun (blocking most of its light) which causes it to look like a ring (or annulus)

This type of eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometres wide, and will be visible from northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean, with the maximum of just over 6 minutes visible from the Pacific Ocean east of French Polynesia

The eclipse begins at 21:25:10 UTC

Friday 10th May – Today sees a New Moon so now is a good time for observing deep sky objects usually affected by moonlight

Saturday 11th May – Bright planets Venus and Jupiter flank the Moon just after sunset.  Shown below at 19:45 UTC/ 20:45 BST, if your NW horizon is flat enough this could be a great target for some photos!

Jupiter, Moon and Venus 11052013 19.45 UTC
Jupiter, the Moon and Venus all pay Taurus a visit soon after sunset this evening, look WNW and see if you can spot them! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The planet Mercury is also in Superior conjunction today, so is unobservable until later in the month

Monday 13th May – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 405,825 km (252,168 miles), the farthest point in its orbit from the Earth

Saturday 18th May – This morning the Moon is at First Quarter phase

Saturday 25th May – Today’s Full Moon will experience another penumbral eclipse (where it skims the edge of the Earth’s shadow), this time however it will be virtually imperceptible unlike the partial eclipse witnessed on 25th April

Penumbral Eclipse 25042013 21.22 BST
In April the Full Moon also experienced penumbral eclipse, shown above at 20:22 UTC (21:22 BST) with the Earth’s shadow visible across the northern edge (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

May’s Full Moon is also sometimes known as the Milk Moon, Dragon Moon or Hare Moon

Sunday 26th May – Soon after twilight this evening the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Venus should be visible forming an equilateral triangle to the WNW (West North-West)

Jupiter, Mercury and Venus 26052013 20.15 UTC
Forming an equilateral triangle in the twilight sky, Jupiter, Mercury and Venus appear close to each other just after sunset on 26th May, as shown at 20:15 UTC/21:15 BST (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

These planets will be near neighbours from 23rd to 31st of this month, but appear closest together this evening

And today the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 358,375 km (222,684 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

Friday 31st May – Tonight sees the Moon at Last Quarter phase; and twilight planets Jupiter, Mercury and Venus appear aligned soon after sunset

Planets visible this month:


Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! 🙂

Guide images created with Stellarium

Astronomy Events – April 2013
Astronomy Events – March 2013
Astronomy Events – February 2013


One Comment Add yours

  1. Maureen says:

    Reblogged this on The Outdoors Betty and commented:
    Looking forward to May!


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