SkyDiary
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Find out what’s up in the night sky:
Upcoming astoronomical events, interesting observations, packed with everything a stargazer needs to know.

Observations are described for the NORTHERN hemisphere and can be made by naked eye, small binoculars or by small telescope.

May 2018

Phases of the Moon

Last Quarter:May 8
New Moon:May 15
First Quarter:May 22
Full Moon:May 29

Venus on Evening Sky

Venus is observable very easily after the local sunset. It moves from the constellation Taurus to Gemini during the month. It is very bright, around (-3.9) mag. On evening, May 17, the very narrow Moon will be about 5 degrees south of Venus. In the night on May 27/28 the planet will be very close to the star Epsilon Geminorum (3.0 mag). You can observe this event in small binoculars or by naked eye.

Jupiter at Opposition

In May, the largest planet of our solar system is "the king of the sky." On May 9, Jupiter is at opposition, i.e., on the straight line "Sun-Earth-Jupiter" and closest to our planet Earth. It rises over the eastern horizon when Sun sets down, and it is observable through the whole night. Its angular diameter has about 45 arc - seconds. With the larger telescope (with lenses / mirror of about 80 - 100mm diameter) and magnification of about 100x, you can see beautiful belts on the planet and the huge Great Red Spot - the largest storm in its atmosphere. However, you will need also a sturdy tripod. Also, four largest moons (Io, Europa, Ganymed and Callisto) can be observed and their mutual motion can be studied from night to night.

Mars Observation: Great perihelic opposition 2018

On Mars, there is the equinox on May 23. The autumn begins on the northern hemisphere and the spring begins on the southern one. The southern hemisphere begins to incline towards Sun (and Earth) and the South Polar Cap should have its maximum observable width. In contrast, the northern polar region should contain more and more mist and clouds, which will start to freeze down to the surface and form the new North Polar Cap. However, the new North Polar Cap remains hidden behind clouds and mist, and is not observable now. At equinox, the visible diameter of Mars reaches 14 arc-seconds and continually increases.

Article by (C) G. Okša