What’s Up! May 2022

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.

 

Date Time Description
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
9th 00:21 First Quarter
16th 04:11 Total Lunar Eclipse (details below)
16th 04:14 Full Moon
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
22nd 18:43 Last Quarter
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
30th New moon

 

Onto this month’s viewing.

 

May’s Objects

 

The Sun

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.

 

The Moon

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).

For those of you who like a poem, writer Caroline Burrows is featured in the month’s Sky at night Mag covering her Lunar poetry. You can find more info on Twitter and the full poem is on YouTube.

 

The Planets

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!

 

Mercury

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.

 

Venus

Best towards the end of the month around 30 minutes before sunrise

 

Mars

A morning planet low in the Eastern sky rising before sunrise.  The best time to view is at the end of the month

 

Jupiter

Again, a morning planet low in the Eastern horizon, view from around 40 minutes before sunrise

 

Saturn

Morning planet low in the South East.

 

Meteor Showers

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.

 

Comets

Sourced from Visual Comets in the Future (Northern Hemisphere) (aerith.net) – May 2022

 

Evening mag   Midnight mag   Morning    
C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) 5 43 C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) 7 36 C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) 6 29
C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 8 18 C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 8 65 C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 8 66
C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) 10 34 C/2019 T4 (ATLAS) 11 26 22P/Kopff 11 18
45P/Honda- Mrkos- Pajdusakova 10 7 C/2021 P4 (ATLAS) 12 5 C/2021 P4 (ATLAS) 12 10
C/2019 T4 (ATLAS) 11 43 19P/Borrelly 12 3 9P/Tempel 1 12 20
C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) 5 43 C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) 7 36 C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) 6 29
C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 8 18 C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 8 65 C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 8 66
C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) 10 34 C/2019 T4 (ATLAS) 11 26 22P/Kopff 11 18
45P/Honda- Mrkos- Pajdusakova 10 7 C/2021 P4 (ATLAS) 12 5 C/2021 P4 (ATLAS) 12 10
C/2019 T4 (ATLAS) 11 43 19P/Borrelly 12 3 9P/Tempel 1 12 20
C/2021 P4 (ATLAS) 12 21 117P/Helin- Roman- Alu 1 13 16 C/2021 A1 (Leonard) 13 16
19P/Borrelly 12 37 73P/Schwassmann- Wachmann 3 13 16 117P/Helin- Roman- Alu 1 13 26
73P/Schwassmann- Wachmann 3 13 56 C/2019 U5 (PanSTARRS) 13 83 C/2019 U5 (PanSTARRS) 13 57
C/2019 U5 (PanSTARRS) 13 83 C/2021 A1 (Leonard) 13 17 C/2020 V2 (ZTF) 13 19
C/2020 V2 (ZTF) 13 64 C/2020 V2 (ZTF) 13 44 C/2020 K1 (PanSTARRS) 13 74
C/2020 K1 (PanSTARRS) 13 20 C/2020 K1 (PanSTARRS) 13 57
116P/Wild 4 13 65 116P/Wild 4 13 23

Deep Sky Objects (DSOs)

Lots of galaxies to image or fuzzy grey blobs for visual observers.  There’s a really good guide here

https://www.galactic-hunter.com/post/spring-the-15-best-astrophotography-targets

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

Date Visible Max Height Appears Disappears
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

Ref: Spot the Station website (York, UK)

 

Useful Resources
https://www.spacedaily.com/
http://www.n3kl.org/sun/noaa.html
http://skymaps.com/downloads.html
https://earthsky.org/
http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2022.html
https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/topics/what-are-names-full-moons-throughout-yearhttp://www.deepskywatch.com/deepsky-guide.html
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!

1 thought on “What’s Up! May 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.