Read our May sky notes to find out what’s in the night sky this month!
These constellations are well placed this month, but many more can be seen. Check the star map for more.
Boötes appears close to the zenith after sunset, getting lower as the night goes on. It can be found via the bright red star Arcturus forming the bottom point of the shape.
Leo can be found in the evening this month, setting in the west in the early hours of the morning. It sets later as the month goes on so best views will be at the beginning of the month.
Aquila rises in the east around sunset. It gets higher in the sky as the night continues, so best views will be just before sunrise.
Mercury is very close to the Sun this month, so will be very difficult to see. It appears low on the horizon in the north west at the beginning of the month. Never point binoculars or a telescope directly at the Sun. Mercury is in conjunction with the Moon on the 2nd, at inferior solar conjunction on the 21st, and aphelion on the 27th.
Venus is too close to the Sun to be seen this month. It will be at aphelion on the 15th and undergo a lunar occultation on the 27th. Venus will be in conjunction with the Moon on the 27th, and in conjunction with the dwarf planet Eris on the 27th.
Mars can only be seen directly before dawn low on the eastern horizon. It rises earlier later in the month, so will be easier seen early in the month. Mars will be in conjunction with Neptune on the 18th, conjunction with the Moon on the 24th, and conjunction with Jupiter on the 29th.
Jupiter rises with the Sun at the beginning of the month, so can only be seen towards the end of it. Look for it just above the eastern horizon before dawn. Jupiter will be in conjunction with the Moon on the 25th and conjunction with Mars on the 29th.
Saturn appears very low on the south eastern horizon just before dawn. It rises later as the month goes on, so best views will be later in the month. Saturn will be in conjunction with the Moon on the 24th.
Uranus is too faint to be seen by the naked eye. This month it stays below the horizon during the night. Uranus will be in solar conjunction on the 5th.
Neptune is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It can only be seen just before dawn above the south eastern horizon. Neptune will be in conjunction with Mars on the 18th.
The η-Aquarids reach their peak on the 6th and their radiant (apparent origin point) of the meteors will be in the constellation of Aquarius. The shower will be visible between 02:37 and 04:42 and best views will be before dawn, as the radiant is highest after sunrise. You will likely see around 12 meteors per hour.
The η-Lyrids reach their peak on the 8th and its radiant (apparent origin point) of the meteors will be in the constellation of Lyra. This constellation is circumpolar, so will remain in the sky all night, allowing meteors to be seen. Best displays are likely to be shortly before dawn as Lyra will be at its highest point after sunrise. You will likely see around 2 meteors per hour.
First Quarter: 9th
Full Moon: 16th
Last Quarter: 22nd
New Moon: 30th
The Moon is at perigee, its closest point to the Earth, on the 17th, and apogee, its furthest point from the Earth on the 5th. This effect is not visually apparent.
The Moon is at perihelion, its closest point to the Sun, on the 28th, and aphelion, its furthest point from the Sun on the 17th. This effect is not visually apparent.
Points of Interest
Visit https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/ to find out when the International Space Station will be visible from your location.
Last updated: April 7th