6 Astronomical Events that you should see in May 2020

6 Astronomical Events that you should see in May 2020

6 Astronomical Events that you should see in May 2020
Image Credits: Long Island

May is one of the best months for stargazing if you are in the Northern Hemisphere of the world. The transition of weather clears up the sky and you can enjoy many astronomical events. This is the reason why several star parties and astronomy meetups are arranged during this time.

Unfortunately, most of these gatherings are not happening this year due to the unfortunate circumstances. However, you can still see the following astronomical events by setting up the equipment in your backyard.  

Flower Moon (7th May)

Flower Moon (7th May) - Astronomical Events

The last Supermoon of the year will appear on Thursday at around 6:45 a.m. EDT. This full moon is called the Flower Moon and has a lot of history attached to it. According to the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, this unique name comes from the Algonquin tribes of the northern United States. This name was chosen for the second full moon of spring because of the abundance of flowers during this time. Other than this, it is also known by the following names.

η-Lyrid Meteor Shower (8th May)

η-Lyrid Meteor Shower (8th May) - Astronomical Events

The η-Lyrid Meteor Shower is active every year from the 3rd to the 14th of May. In 2020, it will peak on 8th May. It is not a very active meteor shower and you can expect around 3 meteors per hour during this phase.

You will be able to observe Lyrid meteors whenever the shower’s radiant point is above the horizon. Simply, look in the direction of the constellation of Lyra to find this astronomical event. According to experts, it’s possible to see these meteors before dawn as well as in the evening on the 8th.

Close Approach of Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn (12th May)

Close Approach of Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn (12th May)

Both the gas giants of our Solar System often come close to the lunar satellite of our planet. More often than not, both these approaches are in close succession of each other. This is exactly what will happen on the 12th of this month when Jupiter and Saturn will visit the moon.

Jupiter and Moon will appear close to each other before dawn while Saturn will make the journey in the evening. At the closest point, Jupiter and Moon will appear within 2o14’ of one another. On the other hand, Saturn and Moon will have about 2o38’ between them.

Experts believe that both these astronomical events can be seen with a naked eye. However, you can grab binoculars for a close inspection of the contrast.

Close Approach of Moon and Mars (14th May)

Close Approach of Moon and Mars (14th May)

After enjoying an awesome day with the gas giants, the moon will then visit the red planet on the 14th. This is an amazing opportunity for stargazers to view the moon’s terminus and dusty Mars in the same frame. According to calculations, the Moon will appear 2o36’ away from Mars in the sky.

This close approach will happen shortly after sunset and you won’t need any special equipment to view this astronomical event. Having said that, a small telescope can offer a lot more details.

Comet Swan Visible to Naked Eye

Comet Swan Visible to Naked Eye - Astronomical Events

This comet (C/2020 F8) was discovered on 11th April 2020 and will come closest to the Earth on 13th May. Currently, it is around 121 million kilometers away from Earth, in the constellation of Aquarius. The sudden increase in its brightness means that it is now visible (with a naked eye) in the Southern Hemisphere.

Although there is no guarantee with comets, predictions reveal that Comet Swan will remain visible in the coming weeks. The current trajectory will take it closest to the Sun on the 27th of May. This will be the time when it will be at its brightest and can be seen from the Northern Hemisphere.

Clear View of Messier 4 (28th May)

Clear View of Messier 4 (28th May) - Astronomical Events

This Messier object is famous for containing some of the oldest white dwarf stars of the Milky Way. Some of these stars are about 13 billion years old. In addition to that, M4 is one of those star clusters that have a millisecond pulsar in them.

This star cluster will be visible in the southwest direction after sunset on the 28th of May. You will require a star app to locate this astronomical object. Similarly, equip yourself with binoculars or a telescope to enjoy this outrageous view.  

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