Planets and meteor showers in May

2015-04-30 14:53

Map explained

LOOK at the map and once you know how to read it, it will be very meaningful to you, because it shows all planets and their times of observation and height from the horizon.

I always make the map for the 15th of the month so that the movement of the planets can be minimized as the month progresses. Look at the right insert of the Earth – the Earth is rotating clockwise if observed from the Southern pole, and also clockwise around the Sun as all other planets. You can see the four major points – Sunrise, Midday, Sunset and Midnight. The small white line indicates the horizon. The explanation is at the bottom. All three small pictures are facing North.

• At sunset Jupiter is in the middle of the sky.

• At midnight Saturn is directly above the observer, at the zenith.

• At sunrise Neptune is high in the northern sky, while Uranus is lower. Now if you want to read the map it is very easy with the help of a simple ruler – just place it on the certain points touching the Earth and you will see what can be observed and how high in the sky. The ruler will represent the horizon and above the horizon is what could be seen at the selected point. Always bear in mind the side of the Earth facing the Sun is day so no planets can be visible, while the side away from the Sun is night and then they are visible.


In the beginning the Sun rises at 6:31 and sets at 17:19, at the end rises at 6:49 and sets at 17:03.


4th Full Moon

11th Last quarter

18th New Moon

25th First quarter


In the beginning of the month Mercury is visible low on the western horizon after sunset and is coming toward us until it reaches its nearest point at inferior conjunction on 31 of May, so the conditions to observe it will deteriorate with the month’s progression. On the 7th is at its maximum eastern elongation of 22° and that is the best time to see it.


The brightest planet can be observed nicely in May. In the beginning of the month is 22° above the horizon at sunset, and getting better through the month by the end will be at 29° and will set at 20:15 so you have almost three hours to watch it.


Very near the Sun and impossible to see.


Very good time to observe it in the first half of the night. In the beginning of the month is already high enough in the sky at sunset. On the 10th is at eastern quadrature – making 90° with Earth and setting at midnight.


Is in Scorpio and is at the zenith in midnight. In the beginning of the month rises shortly after sunset at 18:40. In its retrograde (counterclockwise) motion will enter Libra on the 14th. On the 23rd will be at opposition – lined with the Sun, therefore rising at sunset and setting at sunrise, allowing the maximum observational time – the whole night!


Can be seen in the morning before sunset and as the month goes by it will rise earlier, by the end of the month at 2:53 and that coupled with the later sunrise makes good conditions for the morning observer. On the morning of the 15th will be 3° east from the crescent Moon.


Is rising at 1:48 in the beginning of the month and 23:48 by the end.

Meteor showers

Eta Aquarids

Visible till 28th in Aquarius, before sunset. On the morning of 5th expect maximum meteors.

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