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What's up this Month

The Planets in May 2020

Inner Planets in May

Mercury is too close to the Sun to be visible at the start of the month. However, by the end of the month, it will be nearing its maximum elongation and may be visible in the West/North West between 9:30 and 10pm.

Mercury and Venus pass each other in the evening sky on 22nd May if you have a low West horizon. Mercury will be just over 1 degree to the left of the (much brighter) Venus. See them both in binoculars if it's clear.

Venus is still unmistakeable in the evening sky at the start of the month, being over 35° above the horizon at sunset; but it moves rapidly towards the Sun over the month, being less than 15° high at the end of the month.

Despite its crescent getting thinner and thinner over the month, the angular size gets bigger, so its magnitude doesn't change that much - though it's harder to see in the twighlight

Mars is a morning object in May, rising at about 4am at the start of the month, and about 90 minutes earlier by the time we move into June. It's moving rapidly Eastwards across the month - moving almost 20 degrees from Capricornus into Aquarius.

Outer Planets in May

Jupiter and Saturn are close together as low morning objects at the start of the month, rising at about 3am on 1st, and at 1am by the 31st.

Uranus is lost in the daylight through the month, though it is creeping into the morning sky by the end of the month.

Neptune is a telescope object in the morning by the end of the Month, rising about the same time as Mars, and 8 degrees or so further East.


The Moon is at First Quarter on the last day of April, so the Full Moon will be on Thursday 7th in the constellation of Libra. The New Moon will be on 22nd, so the second half of the month will be the time for deep sky observing. Unfortunately, the timing of the Full Moon is likely to obscure the Eta Aquariids meteor shower that peaks on 5th May.

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Mid-Cheshire Astronomical Group - last updated 26 Jan 2020