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Looking Up: A Stargazer’s Guide to May 2014

Looking Up: A Stargazer’s Guide to May 2014

Here’s a quick look at what’s going on in the sky during the month of May, 2014:

May 6 — First Quarter Moon, 11:15 p.m. One-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing.

May 6 — Moon at apogee (its farthest point to the Earth), 6 a.m.

May 6 — Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower. A weak shower emanating from Aquarius. Viewing is best in the Southern U.S.

May 10 — Saturn at opposition. A body in space is at opposition when it sits 180° from the Sun in relationship to the Earth. This is the best time to view a superior planet – one beyond the Earth’s orbit.

May 14 — Full Moon, 3:16 9.m. The visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Though the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered “full” for the entire day of the event, and appears full for three days. May’s full Moon with be a “supermoon,” meaning it coincides with the Moon’s perigee, or closest point to the Earth, making it larger in appearance and causing exceptionally high tides.

May 18 — Moon at perigee (its closest point to the Earth), 8 a.m.

May 21 — Last Quarter Moon, 8:59 a.m. One-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing.

May 25 — Mercury at greatest eastern elongation. A body in space is at elongation is when it reaches its farthest angle from the Sun, as viewed from Earth. This is the best time to view an inferior planet – one inside of the Earth’s orbit.

May 28 — New Moon, 2:40 p.m. The Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight.

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