The month of May reserves great events in the night sky for astronomy lovers of all categories, from the most beginner observers to the most experienced!
Although the forecast is for rain for much of the country, the nights of the month of May will be marked by the observation of the moon and of several planets that will be in great visibility. The most important celestial event of the month, however, is the Eta Aquarids (or Eta Aquarids) meteor shower!
Eta Aquarids is an above-average meteor shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at peak activity. This is a particularly special event to be seen from the Southern Hemisphere because of its location and will, on average, produce a rate of up to 30 meteors per hour.
The Eta Aquarids meteor shower recorded by NASA instruments.Source: NASA
The rain is produced by dust particles and small space rocks left by Halley’s Comet in its orbit in the Solar System, which has been observed since ancient times. The rain occurs every year between the 19th of April and the 28th of May. This year, its peak of activity will be in the evening of the 5th and in the early hours of the morning of the 6th.
On these days, the Moon will be almost full, which will make it more difficult to visualize the phenomenon, since its luminosity will overshadow the less bright meteors. However, if you are patient, you will definitely be able to observe some good ones, especially the brightest ones.
During the event, meteors will radiate from the constellation of Aquarius, but they can appear anywhere in the sky. Best viewing will be from a dark place and during the last hours of the 5th until the following dawn.
The use of sky observation applications such as Celeste Chart, Sky Map and Stellarium are great to help the visualization of astronomical events.
Calendar of the main astronomical events for the month of May 2023
05/05: Full moon
05/05: Penumbral lunar eclipse (not visible from Brazil)
05 e 06/05: Peak activity of the Eta Aquariids meteor shower
12/05: Moon in Last Quarter
13/05: Conjunction between Saturn and Moon
17/05: Jupiter’s Lunar Occultation
19/05: New Moon
26/05: Conjunction between Venus and Moon
27/05: First Quarter Moon
29/05: Mercury at Greater Western Elongation (Best Time for Observation)
Clear skies and good observations!