MAY 2019 SKYNOTES

MAY STAR CHART, 2019
Please click on the Chart to enlarge.

The chart shows the whole sky, at the times given at the top left of the chart.
The edge of the chart is the HORIZON, and the ZENITH is at the centre.

This chart is for LATITUDE 54 degrees NORTH, and is produced using 'PLANETARIUM GOLD' software.

MAY, 2019.

May 2019

At the beginning of the month the Sun continues its journey through the constellation of Aries, until the 14th at around 19h00, when it crosses the astronomical border into Taurus. In the northern parts of the UK, twilight begins to persist all night, and there are no truly dark nights until the end of July. From now on, look out for Noctilucent Clouds, which are thought to be produced as a result of meteors passing through the upper atmosphere. These thin high clouds of ice crystals still catch the light of the sun, which even at midnight is not far below the northern horizon. Their appearance is that of silvery blue veils low in the northern sky, and may be seen an hour before and after midnight, often with interesting textures and patterns.

The Moon

The Moon is at perigee, the point of closest approach to Earth, at 22h00 on the 13th, and apogee, the furthest distance away from Earth as it can be, takes place at 13h00 on the 26th May.

New Moon is on the 4th at 22h46. On this occasion, the Moon passes 6° south of the Sun on the Aries/Cetus border, passing 6° south of the Sun.

First Quarter at 01h13 on the 12th takes place in the constellation of Leo, 5° to the upper left of Regulus (alpha Leonis) in the western sky. 

The Full Moon of the flowering meadows (Anglo Saxon, Maed Monath) is on the 18th at 21h12, when the Moon is in the eastern part of the constellation of Libra, just above the stars which represent the ‘head of the Scorpion’.

Last Quarter Moon is on the 26th at 16h34 in Aquarius.

From the 5th to the 10th look for earthshine on the night hemisphere of the waxing crescent Moon. Look again for this phenomenon at the time on the waning crescent, during the first four and last three days of the month.

 Planets

You may be able to spot Mercury in the evening twilight at the very end of the month, when it sets 90 mins after the Sun. Binoculars will be a necessity because of the bright twilight. Search for the planet low in the NW sky at around 21h. Mercury should, at that time, be 5° above the horizon. (five finger widths at arm’s length.)

Venus rises at 04h00 on May 1st. The planet is moving from the constellation of Pisces into Aries. It is increasing in northern declination, and so by the end of the month rises earlier at 03h00. Look for it in the ENE sky.

Mars moves from Taurus into Gemini and fades as the month progresses. On May 1st, its visual magnitude is +1.64, which is slightly fainter than Castor (alpha Geminorum). The planet sets in the evening sky at around 23h00 throughout the month, and so the period of availability for observation decreases considerably as evening twilight increases. The angular diameter of Mars has now shrunk to 4 secs of arc, and there is little chance of seeing any detail on its surface through a small telescope. The thin waxing crescent Moon lies to the south of Mars on the 7th between the horns of ‘The Bull’. The two are separated by 4°, and should be looked for in the NW on this evening; Mars lies to the north of the Moon.

Jupiter lies in the constellation of Ophiuchus at a low southerly declination. At the beginning May it rises at 23h00, and at 21h00 by the month’s end. With the exception of Venus, Jupiter is the brightest planetary object in the night sky at visual magnitude  (minus) -2.4. By the middle of the month the planet culminates at an angle of 14° in the south, as seen from Scarborough UK. The waning gibbous Moon may be seen some 4° to the east of Jupiter, as the two are rising, during the night of 20th in the SE quadrant of the sky.

If you look through well focussed, firmly fixed binoculars, you will see the points of light, which are Jupiter’s Galilean satellites, slowly changing their positions on a nightly basis.

Saturn, like Jupiter, does not gain a high altitude when it crosses the southern meridian. It lies in the southern constellation of Sagittarius the Archer nearly 30° to the east of Jupiter. Saturn’s magnitude during month is +0.9, and so is a conspicuous object when it appears in the SE sky around 01h mid-month. On the 22nd, the waning gibbous Moon lies between Jupiter and Saturn in the sky and the three will make a splendid trio low in the southern sky at around 02h. The rings of Saturn are inclined so that we have a good view of their northern surface. With a small telescope, try to spot Saturn’s brightest moon Titan (visual magnitude. +8), when it lies at western elongation on the 8th and 9th, and again on the 24th and 25th.Titan is at eastern elongation from Saturn on the 16th. The waning gibbous Moon may be seen in close proximity to Saturn as they rise just after midnight (0h00 UT). The angular distance between the two is 2° (four moon widths)

Uranus, in western Aries, and Neptune in eastern Aquarius, are not suitably placed for observation during this month when twilight shortens the nights.

 

If you look at the sky in the early morning of the 6th and the 7th from 02h, you may see an increase in the number of shooting stars visible, until morning twilight becomes too bright. Earth is crossing the path of Halley’s comet, and tiny particles, debris from this famous ‘dirty snowball’ hit the upper atmosphere as the Eta-Aquarid meteors. This meteor stream is best observed from the southern hemisphere. The radiant, from which the meteors appear to come, is such, together with the twilight at this time of the year that very few eta-Aquarids are likely to be seen at the latitude of Scarborough in the northern hemisphere.

 

Constellations visible in the south around midnight, mid-month, are as follows: Libra, Scorpius, Serpens Caput (the serpent’s head) and Corona Borealis.

 

All times are GMT     1° is one finger width at arm’s length.

 

SUMMARY 

The phenomena of the month : May 2019
Times are given in UT for SCARBOROUGH (0° 25' 0" W, 54° 16' 3" N, zone 0 UNIVERSAL TIME).

 

Date Hour Description of the phenomenon
yyyy mm dd hh:mm

 

2019 05 01 03:48 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 01 10:45 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2019 05 01 17:53 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2019 05 04 00:37 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 04 20:59 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 05 04 22:45 NEW MOON
2019 05 06 09:07 Meteor shower : Eta Aquarids (50 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 38.0 days)
2019 05 06 21:26 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 08 14:59 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2019 05 08 15:32 Close encounter between Mercury and Uranus (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 1.3°)
2019 05 08 23:17 Meteor shower : Eta Lyrids (3 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 11.0 days)
2019 05 09 18:15 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 09 21:27 Beginning of occultation of 63 Gem (magn. = 5.24)
2019 05 09 22:10 End of occultation of 63 Gem (magn. = 5.24)
2019 05 10 05:47 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 05 10 23:48 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2019 05 11 21:32 Opposition of the asteroid 8 Flora with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.532 AU; magn. = 9.7)
2019 05 12 01:12 FIRST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2019 05 12 15:04 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 13 21:53 Moon at perigee (geocentric dist. = 369009 km)
2019 05 14 09:21 Opposition of the asteroid 11 Parthenope with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.421 AU; magn. = 9.5)
2019 05 14 16:28 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2019 05 15 11:53 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 15 14:35 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 05 15 19:12 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2019 05 18 08:42 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 18 16:35 Close encounter between Venus and Uranus (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 1.1°)
2019 05 18 21:11 FULL MOON
2019 05 19 15:23 Close encounter between Mars and M 35 (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 0.2°)
2019 05 20 12:11 Opposition of the asteroid 20 Massalia with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.631 AU; magn. = 9.7)
2019 05 20 23:22 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 05 21 03:25 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2019 05 21 05:31 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 21 13:06 SUPERIOR CONJUNCTION of Mercury with the Sun (geoc. dist. centre to cenrer = 0.3°)
2019 05 21 23:50 Close encounter between the Moon and M 22 (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 0.8°)
2019 05 22 23:26 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2019 05 24 02:20 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 24 07:00 Mercury at its perihelion (distance to the Sun = 0.30750 AU)
2019 05 26 08:09 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2019 05 26 13:27 Moon at apogee (geocentric dist. = 404138 km)
2019 05 26 16:33 LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2019 05 26 23:09 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 26 23:51 Opposition of the asteroid 32 Pomona with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.434 AU; magn. = 10.5)
2019 05 27 15:01 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2019 05 28 21:30 Opposition of the asteroid 1 Ceres with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.764 AU; magn. = 7.0)
2019 05 28 22:55 Simultaneous transits on Jupiter: two satellites and shadow of one satellite.
2019 05 29 19:58 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2019 05 30 03:39 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2019 05 31 07:02 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2019 05 31 16:56 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei

 

 

LUNAR OCCULTATIONS in MAY 2019 visible from the Scarborough (UK) area. The time given is UT