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The May Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

The Full Moon for May

 The Full Flower Moon. May In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon. Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.. Courtesy Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phases

Full Moon May 3 11:42 am EDT
Last Quarter Moon May 11 6:36 am EDT
New Moon May 18 12:13 am EDT
First Quarter Moon May 25 1:19 pm EDT

May  Lunar Highlights

May 5th Saturn 2 S. of Moon. May 12 Neptune 3 S. of Moon. May 15 Uranus 0.2 N. of Moon. May 18 Aldebaran 1.0 S. of Moon. May 19 Mercury 6 N. of Moon. May 21 Venus 8 N. of Moon. May 24 Jupiter 5 N. of Moon.

All times are EST

The Planets Visibility for May


Evening sky WNW

 Mercury now at 0.8 magnitude May 9th is now at its greatest elongation on May 7th from the Sun and is visible now in the evening sky.


Evening sky WNW

 Venus May 9 is at -4.2 magnitude, a diameter of 0000'.15", a phase of 63.58% and located in the constellation Gemini. It is very prominent right after sunset above the west northwest horizon.


Lost in glare of Sun 

To find Mars look for a reddish object low in the west northwest sky. To see which part of the surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page.


 Evening sky S

Jupiter has "double shadow transit" of it's Moons Io and Ganymede  on May 27. From 10:01 pm EDT until 12:18 am EDT, the tiny dark shadows of Io and Ganymede are on the disk simultaneously. The moons themselves are visible as well;

  A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 


  Evening sky ESE

Saturn midmonth is at +0.1 magnitude and diameter 0000'.18" rising around 9:03 p.m. in the east southeast. It will be highest in the sky in around 3:00 a.m. midmonth. Saturn is in the constellation Scorpius and moves into Libra around midmonth. Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are 24.0 tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations


Morning Sky E

 Uranus midmonth at 5.9 magnitude and diameter 0000'.03" rising around 4:19 a.m. in the east. Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Morning Sky ESE

Neptune midmonth  is at 7.9 magnitude and diameter 0000'.02" rising around 2:48 a.m. in the east. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a blue green disk. Neptune is located in the constellation Aquarius. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Bright Asteroids


Dwarf Planets


 Pluto at midmonth is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.2 and diameter 0000'.00" rising at 1:50 a.m. A large telescope is needed to see this distant object.


Comets Brighter than 8 Magnitude

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) 7.4 magnitude located in Cepheus, now quickly fading.

For more on current Comets and locations see: Seiichi Yoshida web site here.



The Eta Aquarid meteors peak on the morning hours of May 6, these meteors are remnants of a debris stream left by Halley's Comet. The light from the waning gibbous Moon will hamper viewing fainter meteors of about 10 per hour at best.

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

 The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials


Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

Sky Map