Astronomical Diary
Calendar of Astronomical Events MAY 2022
Date Event Time
1 Close Approach of Venus and Jupiter 04:56 AM
5 Moon at Apogee (Distance = 405,225.556 km) 08:46 PM
6 η - Aquarids before sunrise
7-8 η - Lyrids 04:00 AM
17 Moon at Perigee (Distance = 360,390.545 km) 11:27 PM
22 Close Approach of Saturn and Moon 03:20 PM
25 Close Approach of Mars, Jupiter, and Moon 02:00 AM
27 Close Approach of Venus and Moon 11:03 AM
29 Close Approach of Mars and Jupiter 06:26 PM
Moon Phases
New Moon
May 01 04:28 AM
First Quarter
May 09 08:21 AM
Full Moon
May 16 12:14 PM
Last Quarter
May 23 02:43 AM
New Moon
May 30 07:30 PM
Rise and Set Times of Planets
Date Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn
Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set Rise Set
May 01 06:45 AM 07:41 PM 03:15 AM 03:16 PM 02:23 AM 02:10 PM 03:15 AM 03:14 PM 01:22 AM 12:55 PM
May 11 06:24 AM 07:17 PM 03:14 AM 03:24 PM 02:09 AM 02:01 PM 02:42 AM 02:43 PM 12:45 AM 12:17 PM
May 21 05:36 AM 06:19 PM 03:14 AM 03:32 PM 01:54 AM 01:53 PM 02: 09 AM 02:12 PM 12:06 AM 11:39 AM
May 31 04:43 AM 05:20 PM 03:14 AM 03:41 PM 01:39 AM 01:44 PM 01:35 AM 01:39 PM 11:24 PM 11:01 AM

* = following day

Stars and Constellation

The best month to observe the northern constellations of Canes Venatici and Coma Berenices and the southern constellations of Centaurus, Virgo, Corvus, Crux, and Musca is during May. These prominent constellations are directly overhead at around 9:00 PM, as shown in Figure 1.

Fig1
Figure 1: The view of the night sky featuring the prominent May constellations at 9:00 PM on 15 May 2022 using the Stellarium software

The constellations of Canes Venatici and Coma Berenices can be found above the handle of the famous asterism of the Big Dipper (Figure 3). Both constellations are rich in deep-sky objects and also host several prominent galaxies. The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), Sunflower Galaxy (M63), Cat's Eye Galaxy (M94), Whale Galaxy (NGC 4631), Hockey Stick Galaxies (NGC 4656 and NGC 4657, Cocoon Galaxy (NGC 4490), the spiral galaxy M106, and the bright, large globular cluster M3, are only some deep-sky objects that are observable in Canes Venatici (Figure 2).

Fig2
Figure 2: The position of the deep-sky objects in Canes Venatici at 9:00 PM on 15 May 2022 using the Stellarium software

Cor Caroli, a binary star system and the brightest star in Canes Venatici, serves as one of the vertices of a prominent spring asterism called Great Diamond or Diamond of Virgo. The other vertices of the asterism include Arcturus, Spica, and Denebola from the constellations of Bootes, Virgo, and Leo, respectively [1]. Figure 3 shows the view of the Great Diamond if an observer is looking north on the night of 15 May at 9:00 PM.

Fig3
Figure 3: The position of the Great Diamond asterism in the sky at 9:00 PM on 15 May 2022 using the Stellarium software

Coma Berenices also hosts numerous deep-sky objects, including the Black Eye Galaxy and the globular cluster M53. Coma Berenices is also the home of the Coma Cluster of galaxies, a cluster of at least 10,000 galaxies, mostly elliptical galaxies, and also the northern part of the Virgo Cluster including M85, M88, M91, M98, M99 (Coma Pinwheel), and M100, the grand design spiral galaxy. Figure 4 shows the location in the sky of some deep-sky objects in Coma Berenices.

Fig4
Figure 4: The position of the deep-sky objects in Coma Berenices at 9:00 PM on 15 May 2022 using the Stellarium software

Located south of Coma Berenices is Virgo, the second-largest constellation, next to Hydra. Virgo also contains numerous Messier objects, including the famous Sombrero Galaxy (M104) and the galaxies belonging to the Virgo Cluster, namely, M49, the brightest member of the cluster, M58, M59, M60, M61, M84, M86, M87 (also known as Virgo A), the largest and one of the most massive galaxies in the cluster, M89, and M90. Figure 5 shows the position of the galaxies (magnitude < 10) belonging to the Virgo Cluster.

Fig5
Figure 5: The position of the galaxies belonging to the Virgo Cluster in the constellation Virgo at 9:00 PM on 15 May 2022 using the Stellarium software

Centaurus and Crux are the best known southern constellation. Centaurus is the ninth-largest constellation in the sky containing 10 stars brighter than magnitude 3.00. Centaurus is also the home of Omega Centauri, the brightest globular cluster. Meanwhile, Crux, also known as the Southern Cross, is the smallest constellation in the sky and is used for navigation towards the true south [2].

Planetary Location

At the beginning of the month, Mercury is an evening planet lying low near the horizon close to the open cluster, Pleiades. However, Mercury continues to sink towards the horizon in the following days. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are observable as morning planets for the entire month [9].

A close pairing of the planets Venus and Jupiter will be on 1 May at 04:56 AM. The pair will be located in Pisces and will be merely 13.8" from each other. The close pairing is observable from 3:30 AM until before sunrise (Figure 6) [3, 4]. Meanwhile, Venus and the waning crescent Moon, both in Pisces, will be 10.9" away from each other on 27 May. The exact moment of the close approach will occur at 11:03 AM, but the pair may still be observed early morning until before sunrise. Figure 7 shows the view Venus-Moon pairing on the eastern horizon on 27 May. The angular separation of these pairings is close enough to fit in the field of view of a telescope. However, the pairing is also visible to the naked eye or through the aid of a pair of binoculars [5, 6].

Fig6
Figure 6: The view of the eastern sky on 1 May 2022 at 4:00 AM showing the close approach of Venus and Jupiter using the Stellarium application

Fig7
Figure 7: The view of the eastern sky on 27 May 2022 at 4:00 AM showing the close approach of Venus and Moon using the Stellarium application

The planets Jupiter and Mars will be merely 34.9" from each other on 29 May at 6:26 PM. The pair will not be observed at the exact moment of the close approach since it is still below the horizon. However, the pairing is observable as soon as it rises in the east at around 2:00 AM until before sunrise. Figure 8 presents the view of the eastern sky during the close approach of Jupiter and Mars on 29 May 2022 at 4:00 AM. The planetary pairing has a little too wide angular separation, which cannot fit into the field of view of a telescope but will still be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars [7, 8]. A few days prior, the waning crescent Moon can be observed close to the planets Jupiter and Mars on 25 May [9]. The view of the trio, located in Pisces, is observable in the east from around 2:00 AM until before sunrise. Figure 9 shows the eastern horizon at 4:00 PM on 25 May during the Jupiter-Mars-Moon pairing.

Fig8
Figure 8: The view of the eastern sky on 29 May 2022 at 4:00 AM showing the close approach of Jupiter and Mars pairing using the Stellarium application

Saturn and the waning gibbous Moon will closely approach each other at about 411' on 22 May, 3:20 PM. The exact moment of the pair is not directly observable since it will occur in the afternoon, and both Saturn and the Moon are still below the horizon. However, the close pairing is observable on the same day but from around 1:00 AM until before sunrise. Figure 10 shows the view of the Saturn-waning gibbous Moon pairing on 22 May at 4:00 PM [10, 11].

Fig9
Figure 9: The view of the eastern sky on 25 May 2022 at 4:00 AM showing the close approach of Jupiter, Mars, and Moon using the Stellarium application

Fig10
Figure 10: The view of the southeastern sky on 22 May 2022 at 4:00 AM showing the close approach of Saturn and Moon using the Stellarium application

Meteor Shower

The η-Aquariids is one of the meteor showers produced by Comet Halley's debris. This major meteor shower is active from 19 April to 28 May, with a peak of activity occurring on 6 May, and may produce about 40 meteors per hour. The radiant of the meteor shower, Aquarius, will rise on the eastern horizon at around 1:31 AM. η-Aquariids is best observed shortly before dawn when their radiant is at its highest point in the sky Figure 11. The presence of a waxing crescent Moon in Gemini at the shower's peak will cause no significant interference with the meteor shower observation [12, 13].

Fig11
Figure 11: The view of the eastern sky during the peak of η- Aquariids on 6 May 2022 at 4:00 AM when the shower's radiant represented by the green solid circle is highest in the sky
η-Lyrids is another meteor shower observable in May. η-Lyrids is active from 3-14 May, with peak activity on 8 May producing up to 3 meteors per hour. The parent body responsible for η-Lyrids is a comet named C/1983 H1 (IRAS-Araki-Alcock). The radiant of the meteor shower, Lyra, will rise over the eastern horizon at around 9:00 PM. η-Lyrids is observable until before sunrise, with the best shower display at around 4:00 AM when the radiant is at its highest point in the sky (Figure 12). The waxing crescent Moon in Cancer will not cause any interference to the observation [12, 14].

Fig12
Figure 12: The view of the eastern sky during the peak of η-Lyrids on 8 May 2022 at 4:00 AM when the shower's radiant represented by the green solid circle is highest in the sky
The value of the expected number of meteors observable per hour assumes that the observer is in a clear, dark, moonless sky condition, and the radiant is highest in the sky. Meteor showers are observable through the naked eyes, and no special equipment such as telescopes or binoculars is needed. Maximize the viewing experience by choosing a dark observation site away from the city lights under clear and moonless sky conditions.

Notes and References

*All times displayed are in Philippine Standard Time (PhST)

References:
[1] C. Guide, \Great Diamond." https://www.constellation-guide.com/great-diamond/, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2016.
[2] C. Guide, \Constellations: A Guide to the Night Sky." https://www.constellation-guide.com/constellations-by-month/may-constellations/, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2021.
[3] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220430_20_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[4] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: Close approach of Venus and Jupiter." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220430_15_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[5] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220527_20_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[6] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: Close approach of Venus and Jupiter." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220527_15_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[7] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: Close approach of Jupiter and Mars." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220529_15_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[8] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: Conjunction of Jupiter and Mars." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220529_20_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[9] P. Lawrence, \Observing the planets in 2022, month by month," BBC Sky at Night Magazine, Nov 2021.
[10] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: Close approach of Moon and Saturn." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220522_15_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[11] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: Conjunction of Moon and Saturn." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220522_20_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[12] I. M. Organization, \List of Meteor Showers for Observation Session." https://www.imo.net/members/imo_showers/working_shower_list,Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[13] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: -Aquariid meteor shower 2022." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220506_10_100, Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.
[14] D. Ford, \In-The-Sky.org Guide to the night sky: -Lyrid meteor shower 2022." https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20220508_10_100,Last accessed on 2022-4-11, 2022.

For more information, call or email:

Ms. Ma. Rosario C. Ramos, RCE

Chief, SSAS - RDTD
PAGASA - DOST
Diliman, Quezon City
Trunkline: 8284-0800 loc 106, 107, 116
Email add: astronomyph.pagasa@gmail.com