Weymouth Astronomy

The Night Sky - May 2018

As the Sun climbs to a more northerly declination on the ecliptic the days rapidly lengthen. By mid month observers now have to wait until almost midnight BST for the short window of full darkness. The midnight sky hosts the Summer Triangle stars - Vega in Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila. Within our own solar system, Jupiter comes into opposition on May 8th and will be visible during all the hours of darkness. It is moving down the ecliptic and now lies in Libra button will only reach an elevation of 20 degrees when crossing the meridian.

The Night Sky

High Lights of the Month

  • 8th (all the hours of darkness): Jupiter at opposition
  • 5th/6th (before dawn): The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
  • 5th (before dawn): Saturn, the Moon and Mars together in the southern sky
  • 17th (after sunset): Venus above a very thin crescent Moon

Eta Aquarid ShowerEta Aquarid Shower

The Eta Aquarids are one of the finest meteor showers that can be seen from the southern hemisphere but in the northern hemisphere may only be glimpsed in the pre dawn sky in the southeast around 90 minutes before dawn. Unfortunately this year the peak is when there is a waning gibbous Moon in the sky so moonlight will hinder the spectacle.

Observing the Great Red Spot on Jupiter during May

2nd: 20:316th: 23:47
9th: 21:1611th: 22:54
16th: 22:01 21st: 21:08
23rd: 22:47 26th: 20:16
28th: 21:5430th: 23:32


Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine