May 2019 Night Sky Guide. Welcome to the night sky in May. The days are getting longer and temperatures higher, well sometimes.
May 2019 is a great month for stargazing. Spring is well underway and Summer is just around the corner. Warmer shorter nights but well worth staying up for. It’s a great time, whether you are a beginner or seasoned stargazer. There is something for all. This guide is suitable those in the northern hemisphere and also helpful for those with zero experience upwards.
Read on to find out even more about the night Sky in May 2019.
May 2019 Night Sky Guide
Mars is visible low in the west shortly after sunset. It will eventually disappear in the post sunset glare towards the end of the month.
Jupiter rises in the east around 11pm with Saturn rising after 1.00am. Both remain fairly low in the sky until dawn.
Mercury hides in the glare of the sun most of the month. It reaches superior conjunction therefore meaning behind the sun on the 21st. It starts to become more obvious the last few days of the month low in the west shortly after sunset.
Venus is low on the horizon before dawn and as a result, is soon lost in the glare of sunrise.
The Moon in May 2019
The Full Moon in May is also known as the Flower Moon in European and North American folklore. In addition to this, there are a number of other names from ancient folklore for May’s full Moon including: the Corn Planting Moon and Milk Moon.
Moon phases for May 2019 are as follows:
- New Moon – 4 May, 23:47
- First Quarter – 12 May, 02:13
- Full Moon – 18 May, 22:11
- Last Quarter – 26 May, 17:34
Moon Events and Close Encounters May 2019
- 7th May – Moon near Mars.
- 10th May – Moon near Praesepe (Beehive Cluster)
- 12th May – Moon near bright star Regulus.
- 16th May – Moon near bright star Spica.
- 19th May – Moon forms triangle with Jupiter and Antares.
- 20th May – Moon near Jupiter.
- 23rd May- Moon near Saturn.
The constellation of Leo takes pride of place due south mid evening in May 2019. With its backwards question mark, also known as the sickle marking out the head of Leo the lion.
Leo In Greek Mythology
In Greek mythology, Leo signifies the Nemean lion. The lion was impervious to the weapons of mortals with its thick golden fur. Its claws were said to be sharper than the swords of mortal men. The beast was a monster and terrorised Nemea, killing livestock and men alike. The Hero Heracles was sent to kill the lion as the first of his 12 labours. After trapping the beast in a cave, Heracles subdued it with his club and then finally choked the lion to death. With the help of the goddess Athena, it was skinned by Heracles using one of its own claws. The pelt was then worn by Heracles thereafter with its magical fur protecting him from injury and weapons.
Virgo, Berenices Hair and the Realm of Galaxies
To the lower left of Leo is the large Constellation of Virgo – The Virgin. This constellation is the second largest constellation in the night sky. The constellation is rather unremarkable with the exception of its bright alpha star Spica and a host of objects visible through a telescope. Mainly galaxies from the Virgo cluster.
Above Virgo and below Ursa Major lies the small constellation of Coma Berenices – Queen Berenice of Egypt’s Hair, or just Berenices Hair. You can easily spot this small constellation due to its fuzzy patch to the top right of the set square (right angle shape) of the constellation. This fuzzy patch is actually a cluster of stars known as Melotte 111.
The Realm of Galaxies
To the naked eye nothing much is going on in this part of the night sky, or the area between Ursa Major and Virgo. Until you look at a star atlas of the area or through a fairly large telescope such as a Dobsonian. This is the Realm of Galaxies and there are lots of them! This area is actually the Virgo supercluster of Galaxies of which our very own Milky Way is also a member. Above all, there are a number of most noteworthy and famous galaxies and clusters here available to telescope users and you really could spend a very long time hunting deep sky objects in this region of the night sky.
Boötes the Herdsman
To the right of Coma Berenices, use the curve of the handle of the saucepan of the big dipper to draw an imaginary line. Above all else, you will find the very bright star Arcturus – Brightest star in the northern hemisphere and third brightest star in the whole night sky. Arcturus is a red giant star almost 37 light years away in the kite shaped constellation of Bootes the Herdsman.
Looking north you will find the 9 circumpolar constellations. the “W” shape of Cassiopeia – the queen is low down and due north. Ursa Major is high above in May 2019.
Ursa Major, also known as the Plough, Big Dipper and Saucepan is a very large constellation. However, the “asterism” that forms the plough or sauce pan is only part of the constellation. Its body and tail.
International Space Station May 2019
International Space Station (ISS) passes occur over the UK late May 2019.
Times coming soon.