May 2024

Welcome to SkyEye, your guide to this month's celestial events!

All times and dates are in UT with the time given to the nearest 30 minutes.
Planetary positions are geocentric apparent places, referred to the true equator and equinox of date.

The phases of the in May 2024

Day Events
3 The waning crescent Moon occults Saturn beginning at 21:30.
4 Neptune is the next victim of the Moon, with closest approach taking place at 20:00.
5 Finally, the Moon occults Mars starting at around midnight. The Moon also passes through its ascending node and reaches perigee just minutes apart today. There is minimal to no moonlight interference for this year's appearance of the η Aquariid meteor shower which peaks at 21:00.
6 At 09:30, the waning crescent Moon makes a distant pass by Mercury, with the two objects 3.8° apart.
7 The Moon is 3.5° north of Venus at 17:00 but the two bodies are just 6° away from the Sun at the time.
8 The NEW MOON passes by both Uranus and Jupiter today but neither event will be observable. Neither will the occultation of the open star cluster M45 (Pleiades) just before the end of the day.
9 Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west and is 26.4° away from the Sun.
12 The Moon is 1.6° south of the first-magnitude star β Gem (Pollux) at 22:30.
13 Uranus is at conjunction today. Also, the waxing crescent Moon is found 3.4° north of the open star cluster M44 (Beehive) at 23:00.
15 The FIRST QUARTER MOON is 3.5° north of the first-magintude star α Leo (Regulus) at 18:30.
17 The Moon reaches apogee.
18 Venus and Uranus are half a degree apart at 12:30 and Jupiter is at conjunction. Neither event will be visible.
19 The minor planet 2 Pallas is at opposition today and the Moon passes through its descending node.
20 At 09:30, the waning gibbous Moon is 1.4° north of the first-magnitude star α Vir (Spica).
23 The FULL MOON lights up the sky tonight. Venus passes just 0.2° south of Jupiter at 09:30 but both planets are too near to the Sun to be observable.
24 At 02:30, the Moon occults the first-magnitude star α Sco (Antares).
31 Mercury and Uranus are 1.3° apart at 07:00. The waning crescent Moon occults Saturn for the second time this month, beginning around 06:30.

The position of the Sun and planets at mid-May 2024

Sun AriesTaurus
Mercury PiscesCetusAriesTaurus Mercury is visible in the east at dawn. This is the best morning apparition of the year for early-risers in equatorial and southern regions but the worst one for inhabitants of northern temperate latitudes. Over the course of the month, it brightens from first magnitude to −0.8. It rises toward its largest greatest elongation west of the year — 26.4° — before beginning a slow descent back toward the horizon. Mercury's pass by Uranus on the last day of the month probably takes place too close to the Sun (16° elongation) to be observable.
Venus AriesTaurus Like its neighbour Mercury, Venus is a denizen of the morning sky. It is too close to the horizon for northern observers and is getting difficult to see for those further south. The morning star passes by both Uranus (18 May) and Jupiter (23 May) but all three planets are only a few degrees from the Sun at the time. Venus undergoes superior conjunction next month.
Earth and Moon The η Aquariid meteor shower is unhampered by moonlight early this month. This shower is best viewed from southern latitudes. The Moon continues its series of lunar occultations this month, blotting out the Pleiades on 8 May (unobservable due to the proximity of the Sun), Antares on 24 May, Saturn twice (on 3 and 31 May), Neptune on 4 May, and Mars on the following day.
Mars PiscesCetusPisces The red planet, visible in morning skies, is occulted by the waning crescent Moon on 5 May. It reaches perihelion (1.382 au from the Sun) three days later. Shining at magnitude +1.0, Mars easily outshines fourth-magnitude ε Psc when the planet appears 2.3° south of the star at 01:00 on 24 May.
Jupiter Taurus Jupiter is at conjunction mid-month and is lost to view. It will still be too close to the Sun to observe when it has a close encounter with Venus on 23 May.
Saturn Aquarius The ringed planet is occulted by the Moon twice, on the third and last days of the month. First-magnitude Saturn is primarily a morning-sky object, best seen from the southern hemisphere. It passes 2.3° north of ψ¹ Aqr at 01:30 on 2 May and just 0.8° south of φ Aqr at 20:00 on 8 May. Both stars are fourth-magnitude in brightness.
Uranus AriesTaurus Uranus is at conjunction mid-month and is lost to view. Like Jupiter, Uranus receives at visit from Venus but this event takes place too close to the Sun to be visible. Uranus's meeting with Mercury at the end of the month may similarly be impossible to view.
Neptune Pisces Neptune inhabits the morning sky and is best seen from the southern hemisphere although a small telescope will be necessary to view the most distant planet in the solar system. On the fourth day of the month, the waning crescent Moon will occult Neptune beginning around 17:30.