May: Halley Bits & Lunar Eclipse

As you’ll study on this month’s Sky Tour astronomy podcast, May options the emergence of Mercury and Venus low within the west after sundown. In reality, this shall be Mercury’s finest exhibiting within the night sky all year. Which nights shall be finest for recognizing the elusive innermost planet? The graphic beneath gives a touch, however to get the perfect time to search for it, obtain this month’s Sky Tour astronomy podcast.

Moon-Mercury-Venus on May 12-13
Soon after sundown, very skinny crescent Moons pair superbly with Venus on May twelfth and Mercury on May thirteenth.
Sky & Telescope

Early within the month, look ahead to the Eta Aquariid meteor shower earlier than daybreak. Each year about this time, Earth glides throughout Halley’s orbit, and when that occurs, we run into rocky grit shed by the comet centuries in the past. The bits arrive at 66 kilometers per second — 148,000 miles per hour! The excellent news is that, when the bathe peaks early on May sixth, moonlight received’t be an issue in any respect.

Meanwhile, the total Moon that happens on May twenty sixth shall be a particular one. First, it happens simply 9 hours after the Moon reaches the purpose in its orbit closest to Earth, its perigee. In reality, on that day the Moon comes nearer to Earth than at another time all year. Tides shall be particularly sturdy that day. You’re positive to listen to this known as a “super Moon,” as a result of it’ll additionally seem 7% bigger and about 15% brighter than common.

The different occasion on May twenty sixth is that the Moon undergoes a total lunar eclipse — the primary one we’ve had in almost 2½ years. The timing advantages anybody residing across the Pacific Ocean. Mid-eclipse is at 4:19 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Everyone within the U.S. from the Rockies westward have an opportunity to see the Moon completely eclipsed within the hours earlier than dawn. Those in japanese North America must accept glimpsing the final partial phases because the daybreak sky brightens — or perhaps nothing in any respect.

These are simply a number of the highlights lined throughout May’s participating and informative Sky Tour podcast. Just head outdoors, then obtain or stream it to your audio system — and also you’ll get a personally guided tour of what’s seen this month.

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