In Our Skies, May 2024

by Kevin Shank | May 1, 2024 | 0 comments

May 3: Saturn is .8° N of the moon.

May 5: Mars is .2° S of the moon.

May 9: Mercury is highest in the early morning sky due to its greatest western elongation. Look low in the east just before sunrise.

May 31: Saturn is .4° N of the moon.

June 4: Venus at Superior Conjunction.

June 20: This is the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the first day of winter for the Southern Hemisphere. It is marked by the June solstice—the time in the sun’s elliptical path in which it will have reached its most northern position in the sky. This makes for the longest daylight in the Northern Hemisphere, while also being the shortest day for those living in the Southern Hemisphere.

May 4-5: This is the peak of the eta Aquariids meteor shower, though the period of activity runs through May 27. This year may be stronger than usual, and the waning moon crescent will not majorly interfere. These meteors can have long persistent trails.

Comet 1P/Halley, the source of these meteors, is commonly called “Halley’s Comet.” The “P” in the official name is a designation that indicates this to be a “periodic comet.” Periodic comets orbit more frequently than once every two hundred years. The orbit for Halley’s Comet is every seventy-six years. Its last trip past Earth was 1986.

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