Space Science at UTK

Cool Things in the Sky

Cool Things

For the month of May 2022


The moon phases for this month are 1st quarter on the 8th, full on the 16th, last quarter on the 22nd, and new on the 30th.

We will experience a total lunar eclipse on the night of the 15th and morning of the 16th. This will be a fairly long eclipse as the moon moves deep into the Earth’s umbral shadow. Partial eclipse begins at 9:27 PM on the 15th. Total begins at 10:29 PM on the 15th. Maximum eclipse occurs at 11:11 PM on the 15th, Total eclipse ends at 11:53 PM on the 15th and partial eclipse ends at 12:55 AM on the 16th. Expect to see the moon a dark ruddy red color during totality due to the long wavelength rays of the sun shining through the Earth’s atmosphere and onto the moon. The shorter wavelengths don’t make the trip. You can observe this event from anywhere.

Venus is the brightest planet in the dawn sky and appears to be moving along the horizon back toward the sun all month low in the East toward East Northeast.

Mars rises at 3:30 AM by month’s end as it is getting farther from the sun and makes for a nice pairing with Jove later this month.

Jupiter rises around 4 AM in the East so it is easy to pick out by dawn. Mars is in close conjunction, a little over a half degree from Jupiter with the gas giant on the 28th and 29th. A waning crescent moon passes Jupiter and Mars on the 24th and 25th.

Saturn rises in the East about 2:30 AM mid-month. A bright waning crescent moon passes near Saturn on the 22nd.

The Eta-Aquariid meteors peak on the morning of the 6th. These remnants of Halley’s Comet could put on a show with perhaps as many as 50-60 per hour. 4 AM is about the best time to find yourself looking for these jewels.