Meteors from Halley's Comet as 'Flower Moon' rises: May night sky

There won't be a total solar eclipse to get excited about, but the May night sky can't be underestimated. The best meteor shower of the year will peak early this month, before some great lunar and planetary displays. The first 10 days of May will see dark skies along with deep skies.

Here's what to see in the night sky this month:

Saturn and Moon

When: One hour before sunrise, May 3, 4 and one hour and May 31 at 2:00 am

Where: The predawn eastern sky

Because the Moon follows a similar path through the sky each month, when it comes close to a planet during one orbit it will also do so in the next. This month Saturn will appear near a 29% waning crescent moon on May 3, a 19% waning crescent moon on May 4 and a first quarter moon on May 31.

Bodes Galaxy and The Cigar Galaxy

When: After dark

Where: Northern sky near the Big Dipper

Spring is galactic season, an easy time to peer outside our galaxy and see the building blocks of the universe on a larger scale. One of the best views of all in a small telescope is M81 and M82, the former a face-on spiral galaxy and the latter a degenerate galaxy. Both are 12 million light years away. They are in Ursa Major, home of the Big Dipper, which is „up” in the northern sky after dark in the spring.

Eta Aquariids meteor shower peaks

When: Midnight May 4-5

Where: All-sky

The best display of „shooting stars” since December's Geminids will culminate in Eta Aquarits early this month. The Eta Aquariids meteor shower is the result of a debris cloud left in the inner solar system by Halley's Comet, and is expected to produce 20 to 30 meteors per hour. As a bonus, the peak — best seen in the early morning hours of May 5 — will occur in dark, moonless skies.

A crescent moon after sunset

When: After sunset, May 9, 10 and 11

Where: Western Sky

The three or four nights after the new moon are ideal for watching the beautiful slim crescent moon shine in the western sky after dark. This month, from May 9-11, after sunset, with the best views in the west. On May 8, the crescent moon will be seen near Jupiter. Look for „earthshine” – sunlight reflecting off the Earth onto the Moon, which illuminates its „dark side”.

The 'Flower Moon' will rise

When: May 23

Where: Eastern sky

Aside from a total solar eclipse – is there any more spectacular sight in nature than the full moon rising in the east? Bright and muted in orange, May's „Flower Moon” is best seen Moonrise where you are Tonight. Look to the lower left and you'll see Antares, the brightest star in the summer constellation Scorpius.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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