2009: The International Year of Astronomy (IYA)
Comet Garrad (2008 Q3) is the brightest Comet to date at Magnitude 8.5 and Brightening-visible all night in the Southern Hemisphere and is a Southern sky Comet, there are 4 Comets around Magnitude 9, 2 of which are brightening, 1 steady and 1 fading, there are 2 more at Magnitude 9.5 and about 11 Comets past Magnitude 10 and beyond.
If there are any reports of future dated bright Comets that may be seen with Binoculars or the naked eye I will keep you well informed.
Astronomical Events for May:
May 2nd: Venus at its greatest illuminated extent low in the early morning sky
May 4th: Eta Aquarids Meteor shower-maximum , Saturn 6 degrees north of the Moon
May 7th: Mercury is stationary
May 10th: Antares is 0.6 degrees south of the Moon (Occultation in South East Europe)
May 17th Jupiter and Neptune are 3 degrees South of the Moon-Saturn is stationary
May 18th Mercury is in Inferior Conjunction
May 19th Uranus is 5 degrees south of the Moon
May 21st Venus is 5 Degrees south of the Moon, Mars is Seven Degrees south of the Moon
May 25th Jupiter is 0.4 degrees South of the Moon, Comet 22P/Kopff reaches Perihelion
May 29th Neptune is stationary
May 30th Mercury is stationary
May 31st Saturn is 6 degrees North of the Moon
The Planets for May:
Mercury: Is visible low in the north western evening sky for the first week of may and passes through inferior Conjunction on 18th May
Venus: is a brilliant "morning star" but is low on the Eastern Horizon before Sunrise
Mars: Is close to Venus all month on the eastern horizon and is a small disc to be seen
Dwarf Planet Ceres: still amongst the stars of Leo
Jupiter: Still low in the South east dawn sky but steadily makes progress into the dark of the sky
Saturn:Well placed in Leo but by the end of may will be a little difficult to observe in the twilight of the Summer evening
Uranus: In the morning sky
Neptune: Also in the morning sky
Dwarf Planet Pluto: still very low in Sagittarius in the early morning twilight
Upcoming Astronomical Space Events for April and May:
The Space Shuttle Atlantis or STS 125 has returned to the Hubble Space Telescope for an upgrade of the Space Orbiting eye on the Universe-lift off was targeted for May 11th and the 11 day mission is the final Shuttle Mission to the HST with several spacewalks or EVA's (Extra Vehicular Activity) to install 2 new instruments and repair others with Hubble components, this Mission should extend its working life until at least 2014, its the 5th Hubble service Mission, 30th flight for Atlantis and the 126th STS Shuttle flight.
3 to 5 Launches during May are scheduled including the STS 125 to the HST Servicing Mission.
Later on during this Summer between 20th and 26th July will be the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landings when man first set foot upon the Moon.
All times are G.M.T or Universal Time U.T (add 1 Hour B.S.T)
First Quarter Moon is on 1st May at 20.44 Hours U.T
Full Moon is on 9th May at 04.01 Hours U.T
Last Quarter Moon is on 17th May at 07.26 Hours U.T
New Moon is on 24th May at 12.11 Hours U.T
First Quarter Moon is on 31st May at 03.22 Hours U.T
Full Moon occurs on 7th June at 18.12 Hours U.T
Last Quarter is on 15th June at 22.15 Hours U.T
New Moon is on 22nd June at 19.35 Hours U.T
First Quarter is on 29th at 11.28 Hours U.T
There are 2 First quarter Moons in the Month of May and 2 Full Moons (or a Blue Moon) in the Month of December of this year 2009, there is also a Partial Eclipse of the Moon on New Years Eve 2009 during the evening but only 8% of the Lunar Surface will be Obscured.
Lighting Up Times for April into May:
All times are G.M.T or Universal Time U.T (add 1 Hour BST)
15th May: 20.26 Hours U.T
31st May: 20.52 Hours U.T
15th June: 21.07 Hours U.T
30th June: 21.08 Hours U.T
Good Clear Skies.