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3 things Stargazers should look for in the night sky



By Brian Lada AccuWeather meteorologist and writer
26th April 2019, 15:50:39 PM EDT

The nights may be shorter, but the milder May weather will make people spend more time under the stars.

In the coming month, various astronomical events will be shown, including a large meteor shower and a kind of full moon, seen only every few years.

Here are three astronomical events that you can mark in your calendar throughout May:

1st Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
When: 4-5. May

A multi-month meteor shower drought ended at the end of April with the summit of the Lyrids, but the nearly full moon obstructed the visibility. This month's meteor shower will show a more impressive light show than the Lyrids, especially for those in the Southern Hemisphere.

The meteor shower of Eta Aquarid reaches its first weekend in May and is visible as the earth passes through a debris field of the famous comet Halley.

The night from Saturday, May 4, to the early morning of Sunday, May 5, will be the best time to see the meteor shower, not only because it's the peak of the shower, but also because it falls on the same night as a new moon, ie there is no moonlight that disturbs your view.


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The Eta Aquarid shower prefers the southern hemisphere where, according to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), viewers can expect around 40 meteors per hour.

"From the equator to the north, they usually only generate average rates of 10 to 30 hours per hour just before sunrise," the IMO said on their website.

Shooting stars of the Eta Aquarids should also be visible during the nights around the summit, but the number of meteors per hour is not as high as in the peak night.

2. Blue Moon
When: May 18

Mid-May, a Blue Moon will rise all over the world, but it's not the Blue Moon type that many trust are.

There are two types of Blue Moons. The best known definition is the second full moon in a calendar month. The full moon of May, however, falls under the alternative definition.

"One season usually has three full moons. If a season has four full moons, the third full moon can be called the Blue Moon, "explained the old farmer's almanac on his website.

On average, Blue Moons occur only every two or three years, giving birth to the term "Once in a Blue Moon".

  05 18 Blue & Hare Moon.jpg

The Blue Moon continues on Saturday, May 18, around the globe, even though it does not actually appear blue.

The full moon of May is also known as Full Hare Moon, Flower Moon, Budding Moon and Flower Moon.

3. Jupiter, Moon and Saturn Align
When: May 21

The two largest planets in our solar system will align with the moon before the Memorial Day weekend.

Stargazers find Jupiter, the Moon and Saturn, lined up in the early morning hours of May 21 in the southern sky. The three should be high enough at 1 o'clock local time in the sky for the spectators to see them.

  21st May Closer.jpg

People who miss the sky can see a similar sight the following night as the moon moves closer to Saturn.

No telescope is needed to see the planets, as they are easy to see with the naked eye, but people with a telescope can focus on Jupiter to see some of the planet's biggest moons, or Saturn zoom in to see his legendary rings.

Review of April

April was filled with important scientific discoveries, not only in our system but throughout the universe. On Wednesday, April 10, astronomers released the very first picture of a black hole. Closer to home, NASA's InSight Lander recognized a "Marsquake" when he first saw a tremor on another planet.


Photo credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole using Event Horizon telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The picture shows a bright ring that emerges as a curvature of light in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times as strong as the sun.

Foto / SpaceX

The 27 engines of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy supply the Megarocket on April 11, 2019 through the Earth's atmosphere.

NASA's InSight lander deployed its wind and thermal protection on February 2 (Sol 66). The shield covers the InSight Seismometer, which landed on the Martian surface on December 19th. 2019. (Image / NASA / JPL-Caltech)

Photo / SpaceX

The two side intensifiers of the SpaceX Falcon heavy landing on April 11, 2019 along the Florida coast.

An image showing the surface of the Saturn moon Titan, which is believed to have phantom lakes and caves. (Photo: © NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASI / USGS)

Photo / AccuWeather Astronomy Fan AJ Small

The International Space Station flies over the northeastern United States on April 6, 2019.

Photo / AccuWeather astronomy fan Deirdre Horan

The almost full moon over Dublin (Ireland) on April 16, 2019.


On April 11, SpaceX launched its missile Falcon Heavy after several weather-related delays. This was only the second time the rocket had been fired, and it was the first time she had sent a satellite into orbit. All three boosters of the first stage of the rocket landed again on Earth, but the one who had landed at sea, could not land unscathed.

The Lyrid meteor shower peaked in the early morning of April 22 and coincided with Earth Day. This was the first major meteor shower in the world since the Quadrantids in the first days of January. The International Space Station also made incredibly bright passes over the northeastern United States, towering over every star and planet in the sky.


Questions or comments? Send Brian Lada an email to Brian.Lada@accuweather.com and follow him on Twitter!

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