A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth
Compiled by Steve Sawyer
Hi, hope you all had a good Easter and as we’re now approaching late Spring/Early summer. It’s almost time to say goodbye tonight. The last day you can experience true night is on the 11th May (a whole 53 minutes of the official night) after this it’s astronomical twilight only until the 2nd of August when true darkness starts to make a re-appearance. But there’s still plenty to take a look at even during the summer season.
So what’s on this month?
What’s happening or is going to take place this next month.
|1st||04:10||Uranus 0.4°N of the Moon|
|5th||12:46||Moon at apogee (max distance) = 405,285 km|
|6th||n-Aquariid meteor shower maximum|
|6th||23:32||Pollux 2.1°N of Moon|
|16th||04:11||Total Lunar Eclipse (details below)|
|17th||03:19||Antares 3.1°S of Moon|
|17th||15:27||Moon at perigee (closest )= 360,298 km|
|22nd||04:43||Saturn 4.5°N of Moon|
|25th||00:02||Jupiter 3.3°N of the Moon.|
|25th||Early morning||Before sunrise lookout for Mars, Jupiter and a 25% lit waning moon in close proximity.|
|27th||02:51||Venus 0.2°N of Moon|
|29th||00:00||Mars 0.6°S of Moon|
Onto this month’s viewing.
The sun is currently quite active with the current sunspot number being 126 and a number of recent CME events that have caused geomagnetic storms with visible aurorae at high latitudes.
For more info on the sun and solar weather, see the Space Weather Prediction Centre website.
On Sunday the 1st of May, a very thin (0.9%-lit) waxing Crescent Moon may be seen very low above the northwestern horizon (using optical aid). If you have a clear view of the northwest horizon down to ground level then this might be possible to see it! (See the Crescent Moon Watch page for more details.)
May’s moon is the Flower Moon and a full lunar calendar can be found on the Moon Info website.
There’s a lunar eclipse on the 16th May. It’s not fully visible from the UK, but worth looking out for. There’s a nice NASA guide on the Total Lunar Eclipse of 16 May 2022 (pdf).
Well, a bit of disagreement between the guides this month. One states all the planets are rubbish and not worth bothering with. Sky at Night magazine disagrees with this statement that some are worthwhile. We’ll be optimistic!
Morning planet, setting around 2hrs after sunset at the beginning of the month and can be found near the Pleiades. Only visible for the 1st half of the month.
Best towards the end of the month around 30 minutes before sunrise
A morning planet low in the Eastern sky rising before sunrise. The best time to view is at the end of the month
Again, a morning planet low in the Eastern horizon, view from around 40 minutes before sunrise
Morning planet low in the South East.
The Eta Aquariid meteor shower will peak between midnight and dawn on 6 May 2022.
This shower favours the Southern Hemisphere and will appear low in the sky for northerly latitudes (such as the UK) in the early predawn hours.
Nevertheless, it should still be possible to see the shower in the eastern sky, even when the radiant is below the horizon.
Sourced from Visual Comets in the Future (Northern Hemisphere) (aerith.net) – May 2022
Deep Sky Objects (DSOs)
Lots of galaxies to image or fuzzy grey blobs for visual observers. There’s a really good guide here
With accompanying YouTube videos too
Man’s Space Activities
Spotting the International Space Station
The following ISS sightings are possible up to Thursday 12 May 2022
|Sun May 1, 3:57 AM||4 min||22°||16° above S||10° above E|
|Mon May 2, 3:11 AM||2 min||16°||16° above SSE||10° above ESE|
|Tue May 3, 2:24 AM||< 1 min||10°||10° above ESE||10° above ESE|
|Tue May 3, 3:57 AM||5 min||36°||20° above SW||10° above E|
|Wed May 4, 3:10 AM||3 min||28°||27° above S||10° above E|
|Thu May 5, 2:24 AM||2 min||19°||19° above SE||10° above E|
|Thu May 5, 3:56 AM||6 min||50°||16° above WSW||10° above E|
|Fri May 6, 3:10 AM||4 min||43°||33° above SSW||10° above E|
|Sat May 7, 2:23 AM||3 min||33°||33° above SE||10° above E|
|Sat May 7, 3:56 AM||7 min||58°||10° above WSW||10° above E|
|Sun May 8, 1:36 AM||1 min||17°||17° above ESE||10° above E|
|Sun May 8, 3:09 AM||5 min||55°||24° above WSW||10° above E|
|Mon May 9, 2:22 AM||3 min||49°||48° above S||10° above E|
|Mon May 9, 3:56 AM||7 min||53°||10° above W||10° above ESE|
|Tue May 10, 1:35 AM||2 min||32°||32° above ESE||10° above E|
|Tue May 10, 3:08 AM||6 min||57°||16° above W||10° above ESE|
|Wed May 11, 12:48 AM||1 min||14°||14° above E||10° above E|
|Wed May 11, 2:21 AM||5 min||58°||32° above WSW||10° above E|
|Wed May 11, 3:55 AM||6 min||39°||10° above W||10° above SE|
|Thu May 12, 1:34 AM||3 min||53°||53° above SSE||10° above E|
|Thu May 12, 3:07 AM||6 min||47°||10° above W||10° above ESE|
Top 10 Winter Sky Targets for Skywatchers | Space
and of course the sky at night magazine!
Astronomy and Space Quiz
Compiled by John Rowland
Results for April 2021 Quiz
Congratulations once more to Andrew Downie, who is once again the top quizzer with an impressive score of 11 out of 12. We’re taking a break from quizzes for a while but hope to start them up again in the autumn. Thanks to all who participated.
For details of the Answers, follow this link: Whats_Up_April_2022_Quiz_Answers
This Month’s Challenge –
Postponed until Autumn 2022
Thanks for your interest, and we wish you clear skies and good viewing. Stay safe!
Steve Sawyer and John Rowland!