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What’s up in the sky?: Week of 05/03-05/09

The Pink Super Moon did not disappoint April 26th
The Pink Super Moon did not disappoint April 26th(Myra McMellen)
Published: May. 2, 2021 at 11:29 PM EDT|Updated: May. 2, 2021 at 11:32 PM EDT
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(WHSV) - We’ve now reached the first full week of May. Here’s what’s up in the sky this week.

Adding Daylight

Over the next week, we will gain about 12 minutes more of daylight as the rate at which we gain daylight continues to get slower and slower. This week it will be by 9 minutes from 2 minutes and 5 seconds a day to 1 minute and 56 seconds a day. By May 9th, sunrise will be at 6:09 am and sunset will be at 8:14 pm. We will have 14 hours and 5 minutes of daylight by May 9th with 9 hours and 55 minutes of darkness. We will have over 14 hours of daylight until August 5th.

ISS Viewing (Most Viewable)

Date and TimeTime VisibleMaximum Height (Degrees above the horizon)Direction it AppearsDirection it Disappears
Monday May 3rd, 3:44 am2 min23°above Nabove NNE
Sunday May 9th, 5:27 am4 min16°above NNWabove ENE

Moon Phases & Next Full Moon:

Moon PhaseDate and Time
Third Quarter MoonMay 3rd, 3:50 pm
New MoonMay 11th, 2:59 pm
First Quarter MoonMay 19th, 3:12 pm
Full MoonMay 26th, 7:13 am

The next new moon on May 11th will be a micro new moon. This means the moon will be the farthest away from Earth in the moon’s regular orbit.

The next full moon will be May 26th and is known as the Flower Moon. This will be the third consecutive super moon of 2021, and the closest a full moon will be to Earth this year making it the biggest and brightest full moon of the year. It is known as the Flower Moon because of all the flowers blooming. There are several other names for May’s full moon. It can be referred to as the Budding Moon, the Leaf Budding Moon, Planting Moon, Egg Laying Moon, Frog Moon, or the Moon of the Shedding Ponies.

Other Interesting Events:

On Tuesday May 4th, the moon will rise over the southeastern horizon at about 3 am and will be positioned below and between Jupiter and Saturn. This display creates a good opportunity to get a wide photo of the two planets and the moon.

On Tuesday during the overnight, the moon will rises and be between and below Jupiter and Saturn.
On Tuesday during the overnight, the moon will rises and be between and below Jupiter and Saturn.(Stellarium)

Starting on Wednesday May 5th and continuing throughout the month of May, Mercury will be easily visible after sunset. Mercury will move farther away from the sun in the sky until mid-month, at peak visibility. In the second half of the month, the planet will descend sunward, passing much brighter and slower Venus towards the end of the month.

Throughout the month of May, Mercury will be more visible in the sky.
Throughout the month of May, Mercury will be more visible in the sky.(Stellarium)

On Thursday May 6th, the Eta Aquarid meteor show will peak in the pre-dawn hours. The meteor shower is produced by particles of Halley’s Comet. The shower runs until May 28th. The location in the sky you can see it is in the southeastern portion, not far from Jupiter. On May 6th, watch for up to a few dozen meteors per hour, including fireballs.

During the early morning Thursday, the Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak and you'll be able...
During the early morning Thursday, the Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak and you'll be able to see several meteors and potentially fireballs.(Stellarium)

All night on Friday May 7th, The Virgo Cluster of galaxies will be on display. The Virgo Cluster has as many as 2,000 galaxies with dozens visible with amateur telescopes. The cluster spans nearly a fist’s diameter of the sky between Virgo and Coma Berenices. The brightest member is the elliptical galaxy Messier 49, which is located a palm’s width to the right of the star Vindemiatrix. Using low magnification, aim your telescope mid-way between Vindemiatrix and the star Denebola. This region contains a large number of bright galaxies.

The Virgo Cluster has as many as 2,000 galaxies with dozens visible with amateur telescopes.
The Virgo Cluster has as many as 2,000 galaxies with dozens visible with amateur telescopes.(Stellarium)

All night on Saturday May 8th, the Big Dipper will be positioned overhead in the northeastern sky. Two impressive galaxies can be seen in binoculars and backyard telescopes. You can use the star Alkaid at the tip of the dipper’s handle to locate them. The Pinwheel Galaxy, will be positioned a palm’s width to the lower left of Alkaid, forming and equilateral triangle with Mizar. The Pinwheel Galaxy that is 21 million light years away will be nearly as large as the moon in the sky. Aim your binoculars several finger widths above Alkaid to discover the Whirlpool Galaxy.

Saturday overnight the Pinwheel galaxy will be visible (circled in red). The Whirpool galaxy...
Saturday overnight the Pinwheel galaxy will be visible (circled in red). The Whirpool galaxy will also be visible

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