May's Full Moon and More
See what's up in the night sky for May 2015, including stargazing events and the moon's phases, in this Space.com gallery courtesy of Starry Night Software. Here: Sunday, May 3, 11:42 p.m. EDT. The Full Moon of May is known as the "Milk Moon," "Flower Moon," or "Corn Planting Moon." It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.
Last Quarter Moon, May 2015
Monday, May 11, 6:36 a.m. EDT. The Last Quarter Moon rises around 2 a.m. and sets around 1 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.
New Moon, May 2015
Monday, May 18, 12:13 a.m. EDT. The moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after New Moon.
First Quarter Moon, May 2015
Monday, May 25, 1:19 p.m. EDT. The First Quarter Moon rises around 1 p.m. and sets around 2:15 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.
Mercury at Greatest Elongation, May 2015
Thursday, May 7, evening twilight. This is the best evening apparition of Mercury this year for observers in the northern hemisphere. Use Venus to help you locate it. Mercury is most easily located by sweeping with binoculars, but once you've located it, you should be able to see it with your unaided eyes.
Uranus and the Moon, May 2015
Friday, May 15, dawn. The moon will pass just south of Uranus just before sunrise.
Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter, May 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 8:06–8:35 p.m. EDT. The shadows of Io and Ganymede will be on opposite limbs of Jupiter, while the moons Io and Callisto will be central on the disk.
Saturn at Opposition, May 2015
Friday, May 22, 10 p.m. EDT. Saturn will be in opposition to the sun.
Saturn's Moons During Opposition, May 2015
Friday, May 22, 10 p.m. EDT. Note how most of Saturn's moons are in the same plane as the rings, except for Iapetus, whose orbit is tilted 8.3 degrees. At opposition, Iapetus is close to maximum elongation towards the west, while Titan is close to maximum elongation towards the east.
Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter, May 27, 2015
Wednesday, May 27, 10:01 p.m.–12:18 a.m. EDT. The shadow of Io chases the shadow of Ganymede across the face of Jupiter, catching up with it and passing it at 11:48 p.m. EDT. The Great Red Spot will also cross Jupiter's disk during this period.
Mercury, May 2015
Mercury is well placed for northern hemisphere observers in the evening twilight sky for the first three weeks of May.