WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Three celestial events will be featured in May including a vast meteor shower and a Blue Moon that is seen only once in every two to three years.
- The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be first featured on the first weekend of May while a blue moon is expected in mid-May that may be visible worldwide.
- A major alignment of the two largest planets with the Moon will also be highlighted before Memorial Day weekend.
For all stargazers, there’s a reason for you to spend more time under the stars in the upcoming month of May. You will be treated to a variety of astronomical events which includes a major meteor shower and a kind of full moon that is seen only once in every few years.
Here are three celestial events to look out for:
Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
When: May 4-5
As the Earth passes through debris left behind by the famous Comet Halley, the Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be visible during the first weekend of May.
Best viewing is from the night of May 4 into the early morning of May 5. Not only because the shower is at its peak, but it’s also because it takes place on the same night as a new moon, meaning no moonlight is present to block your view.
According to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), the meteor shower will be more impressive especially in the Southern Hemisphere where stargazers can anticipate about 40 meteors per hour. At the same time, shooting stars linked with the Eta Aquarids is expected to be visible during its peak nights, although the number of visible meteors per hour will be lower.
When: May 18
Many are familiar with Blue Moons. While the type many are familiar with is the second full moon in a calendar month, the Blue Moon arising in mid-May around the world falls under another kind.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac website, “one season typically has three full moons. If a season has four full moons, then the third full moon may be called a Blue Moon. These only occur once every two or three years on an average, thus, the expression, ‘once in a blue moon’.
Although the moon will not actually appear blue, it will rise around the world on May 18. May’s Blue Moon is also called Full Hare Moon, the Flower Moon, the Budding Moon and the Flower Moon.
Celestial alignment of Jupiter, Moon and Saturn
When: May 21
Before Memorial Day weekend, the solar system’s two biggest planets will align with the Moon.
During the early morning hours of May 21, stargazers can find Jupiter, the moon and Saturn lined up in the southern sky. By 1 a.m. local time, the three should be high enough for viewers to spot.
For those who missed this event will still have a chance to view a similar sight the next evening as the moon moves closer to Saturn.
The planets can be easily spotted with the naked eye so no telescopes are needed. But folks with telescopes can zoom in on Jupiter to see some of the largest moons of the planet or focus on Saturn to spot its legendary rings.