Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 2011 Highlights

Another month is upon us, and summer is coming fast here in the Northern Hemisphere. By the end of the month, barbeques will be firing up across the U.S. for Memorial Day and thousands of students will be getting out on summer vacation. The weather will also hopefully stabilize and we will get some nice, crisp, late spring nights with great viewing. Here are some of the things you can hope to catch during the month of May:

May 2: Endeavour Launch: The next attempt to launch this shuttle on its final flight will be at 2:33 p.m. EDT. The launch has been further delayed, a week or more. The next launch will be no sooner then May 8. As the shuttle would have to clear the way for an Air Force launch on the 6th. The reason for delay is indications that issues with the APU-1 heating that caused the initial shutdown are symptoms of a deeper problem that will take engineers longer to access and fix.You can find the latest news on NASA's Shuttle site.

May 3: New Moon: The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth.

May 5 & 6: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower: (active through May 12) A light meteor shower generated from Earth passing through dust released by Halley's Comet. You can see between 10 to 30 meteors per hour during the peak on May 5 & 6. You'll want to look towards the constellation Aquarius to the east after midnight, far from city lights.

May 7: Astronomy Day (Part 1): An event that happens twice a year that aims to bring astronomy to the people, it is a way for the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals to interact. All around the world stargazing and astronomy clubs and other organizations plan to hold events. You can learn more from your local astronomy club or planetarium, or by visiting the Astronomical League's website. The next astronomy day is October 1.

May 10: First Quarter Moon: The Moon is halfway through the waxing phase, a great time for observing as the shadows provide wonderful contrast.

May 11: Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter: These three planets will be in conjunction, forming a 2-degree vertical line in the early morning sky to the east. Mars will also be visible nearby. 


May 17: Full Moon: The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This moon, in the Native American tradition of naming the full moons throughout the year, is known as the Full Flower Moon, because this is the time of year when spring flowers appear in abundance.

May 24: Last Quarter Moon: Halfway through the Moon's waning phase, The next New Moon will be June 1st.


Saturn will dominate the evening night sky for the entire month of May, so if you happen to be out and look up, it will probably be the brightest object in the night sky besides the Moon.


That's about all the exciting observable stuff happening in the month of May. If anything else comes up, I'll be sure to mention it.


18 comments:

Zombie said...

I hate it when it gets hot! lol.

Lost.in.Idaho said...

I can't wait for August's meteor showers. Now that I'm in a smog-free environment, I'm going to be like a preteen boy with his first nudie mag...

Kicking Rocks said...

May is my favourite month!

Jordan said...

It'll be cool to see the planets all up in the sky.

Jay said...

i hope everything goes well with the shuttle launch this time.

Matt said...

Looks like a pretty good month ahead. Thanks for the list!

Patti D. said...

Great, I want to see the Meteor shower!!

Alan said...

That Endeavour Launch sounds interesting.

Solsby Kid said...

I love meteor showers :D saw one last august, was insane!

Dootzkie said...

1st of May is always great in my city. We go to one of the two big park/forests of the city and make campfires on the 30th and wait the dawn of the first May!

Banacek said...

I'll look for Saturn this month.

Kim Anders said...

wanna see the shower too, hope its not to light ;x

**Hype.Planet** said...

Hey thanks for the list!

ScottD said...

i hate living in the city i never get to see anything during a meteor shower:(

Rorschach Redemption said...

"Full Flower Moon" would make a nice name for a hippy child.

G said...

nice summary of the month ahead

Dave said...

Ive never seen a meteor shower so Ill be looking out for it. following.

Malkavian said...

Hey thx for the Heads up, gonna undust the Telescope to watch these things happen

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