May is a popular and busy month for astronomers consisting of these events:
- May 3rd – New moon will take place at 06:01 hours
- May 10th – First Quarter will take place at 20:33 hours
- May 17th – Full moon will take place at 11:09 hours
- May 24th – Last Quarter phase takes place at 18:52 hours
- The time it takes for the moon to do a complete orbit around the Earth is 27.3 days.
- The distance from Earth to the moon is around 238,900 miles! (Or 384,000 kilometers!)
- The moon has 1/6 the gravity compared to that on Earth.
- The moon orbits the Earth at around 2,300 miles per hour.
- The Surface area of the moon is around 9.4 billion acres (Or 14,658,000 square miles)
- Only 59% of the moons surface can be seen on Earth.
- We always see the same side of the moon. The other part is hidden from us!
- The moon has no global magnetic field.
Eta is beta:
Eta Aquarids brief but bright meteors descend from the infamous Halley’s Comet. It will consist of around 20 to 40 meteors hourly.
The meteor shower peaks on the 5th and 6th of May. The show will end around the 28th of May.
The shower will be in the eastern sky, found in the constellation Eta. There will be a thin crescent moon present in the early mornings for a couple of days, making it perfect to view the shower!
Happy Astronomy Day!
On May the 7th, astronomers all over the world will be celebrating “Bringing astronomy to the people”. People celebrate by setting up events and parties for the public. Astronomy day also helps to bring people together and inspire the public to get more involved. So get in and celebrate astronomy your own way!
Triple conjunction between Mercury, Venus and Jupiter.
The three planets will line up and form a 2 degree vertical line. Mars may also be seen from a different part of the sky. It is fairly easy to view in eastern skies at dawn with the naked eye on May the 11th.
The clocks have gone forward! Between February, March and the beginning of April, there isn’t an X amount of astronomical events that have occurred. Astronomers await for much clearer and crisp skies and warmer weather to view some extraordinary shows that are expected.
The next major meteor shower will be April 22nd until the dawn of April 23rd. Lyrids Meteor shower consists of around 15 meteors an hour, which is small compared to Quadrantids in January (40 meteors hourly!)
Time and a place – Don’t miss out on Lyrids!
The “April showers” Will be bright bursts of light and leave long trails of meteor dust across the sky at the site of the Lyra and Vega constellations. It is easily viewed outside in your garden and looking up towards northeast in the sky. The best place to view the shower depends on where you live. Areas with the least amount of light would be advised.
The best time to view the shower would be around 10p.m GMT time. Unfortunately, there will be a waning gibbous moon that night which will cause failure to view for some people in different parts of the country. The light reflected off the moon will disrupt the show, causing less meteors to be viewed if you wish to view the shower later in the night.
General knowledge of Lyrids:
- Lyrids meteors descend from its parent Comet Thatcher (Also known as C/1861 G1).
- Lyrids has had cases of break-through records, consisting of 100+ meteors per hour! These outbursts are quite rare and it is difficult when to predict them.
- On April 26th, 1803, a shower of thousands of small rocks fell from the sky in northwestern France and terrified people!
- Earth travels through the tail end of Thatcher.
Best of luck with viewing the shower!
The winter Solstice had exceptional presence (depending where you were in the world) consisting of a full moon and snowy skies. The best place to have viewed the show was mainly in all regions of North America. However. Parts of western Europe were able to see the start of the eclipse while parts of western Asia could view the tail end.
The next upcoming celestial event – Quadrantids meteor shower:
- Quadrantids Meteor Shower is an annual meteor shower that pursues on the 3rd of Janurary 2011. It can be viewed from all round the world and consists of around 40 meteors hourly.
- Quadrantids meteors shower from Asteroid 2003 EH1 (or Comet C/1490 Y1 as some astronomers may believe it originates from)
- Quads has been known as one of the best shows of the year and can be seen in twilight hours.
- Where to find it? Quads meteor shower can be found in the constellation Boötes. Boöts can be found by locating Ursa Major (AKA the Big Dipper) and following the “handle”. Once you have got to the end of the handle, you will see a constellation (Boötes) that’s in a “kite” shape.
- Time and place? Remember, this meteor shower can be viewed from the twilight hours (sun set) of January the 2nd to 12am onwards (The morning of January the 3rd.) The best place to be is anywhere with the least light pollution.