By Duncan Lunan
The Moon will be New on May 4th and Full on May 18th.
The planet Mercury is at superior conjunction on the far side of the Sun on May 21st and back in the northwest evening sky in late May, setting after 10 p.m. by the end of the month, outshining Mars as they move towards conjunction in June. Mercury is near the Moon to the north on May 3rd.
Venus now rises about 4.30 a.m., shortly before sunrise, and visible only briefly before daylight.
Mars moves from Taurus into Gemini, where it will be in conjunction with Mercury next month. The thin crescent Moon is below Mars on the 7th.
Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, comes to opposition in southern Ophiucus on May 28th, when it will be at its nearest to Earth and due south at midnight (GMT). The Moon passes Ceres on the 19th.
Jupiter in Ophiucus now rises at 11.00 p.m.. Jupiter is near the Moon on the 19th to 21st, forming a triangle with Antares in Scorpius on the 19th.
Saturn in Sagittarius rises about 1 a.m., moving westward after passing its stationary point on April 30th, and near the Moon on the night of the 22nd/23rd.
Uranus isnot visible in May, after its conjunction with the Sun on April 22nd.
Neptune in Aquarius has returned to the morning sky, rising about 3 a.m..
The eta Aquarid meteor shower of debris from Halley’s Comet peaks on the night of 5th/6th May, and will be best seen after 3 a.m., but not spoiled by moonlight.
The next meeting of the Astronomers of the Future Club will be on Thursday May 30th, from 19:15 to 21:00 hrs at the RSAS Barassie Works Club, 4 Shore Road, Troon, KA10 6AG. The speaker will be John Pressley of the Coats Observatory, Paisley, on “The New Horizons Mission”, which passed Jupiter in 2007, Pluto in 2015, and the Kuiper Belt asteroid Ultima Thule, the most distant object visited so far, in January 2019. For more details, contact Alan Martin on 07947 331632.
“Starfield, science fiction by Scottish writers”, edited by Duncan Lunan, is available from the publishers at https://www.shorelineofinfinity.com/product/starfield. Duncan’s recent books “Children from the Sky”, “The Stones and the Stars”, “Incoming Asteroid!” and “The Elements of Time” are available from the publishers, on Amazon or through booksellers; details are on Duncan’s website, www.duncanlunan.com.