May 2022 – What’s Up!

Week of 23rd May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00:52 BST on Monday and after that we no longer enter astronomical darkness as the Sun does not reach 18° below our northern horizon; nautical darkness is as dark as it gets until 21st July
  • The Sun is ever more active and makes a superb object to observe *SAFELY* (with the necessary filters or projection techniques, of course!) as increasing numbers of sunspots are developing
  • We are entering the season of Noctilucent Clouds. Keep an eye out for these high level pearlescent shifting cloud displays in the hours of darkness above our northern horizon
  • The waning Moon passes by the four planets in our morning sky through this week, from west to east: Saturn (+0.8), Mars (+0.7), Jupiter (mag -2.2) and Venus (-4.0)
  • The Moon is Waning Crescent all week
  • The Sun currently has seven active regions: AR 3010, 3011, 3014, 3015, 3016, 3017 & 3019. The sunspot number is 110. So far this year there have been zero spotless days!
  • There are multiple visible evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 22:21, W to ESE, max 83° & 23:58, W to SW, max 29°
    Tuesday: 23:09, W to SSE, max 41°
    Wednesday: 22:21, W to SE, max 55° & 23:59, WSW to SW, max 15°
    Thursday: 23:10, W to SSW, max 22°
    Friday: 22:22, W to SSE, max 30°
    Saturday: 23:12, WSW to SSW, max 11°
    Sunday: 22:23, WSW to S, max 16°

Week of 16th May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 00:01 BST at the start of the week and at 00:37 BST by the end of the week
  • On Monday morning there is a total lunar eclipse. The partial eclipse starts at 03:27 BST and the total eclipse starts at 04:29 BST, with maximum eclipse at 05:11 BST. Unfortunately, we will miss the end of the eclipse as the Moon sets at 05:17 BST. Look low to the western horizon to follow this event
  • Look to the southeastern horizon just before sunrise to see four planets, from east to west: Venus (-4.0), Jupiter (mag -2.2), Mars (+0.8) and Saturn (+0.8)
  • The Moon is Full on Monday – the Super Blood Flower Moon and last Quarter on Sunday
  • The Sun currently has five active regions: AR 3006, 3007, 3010, 3011 & 3013. The sunspot number is 105
  • There are multiple visible evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 23:06, WSW to E, max 78°
    Tuesday: 22:18, WSW to E, max 64° & 23:55, W to E, max 84°
    Wednesday: 23:06, W to E, max 85°
    Thursday: 22:18, W to E, max 88° & 23:55, W to ESE, max 82°
    Friday: 23:06, W to E, max 88°
    Saturday: 22:18, W to E, max 84° & 23:54, W to SSE, max 55°
    Sunday: 23:06, W to ESE, max 71°

Week of 9th May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23:29 BST at the start of the week and at 23:56 BST by the end of the week
  • Four planets continue their line up in our morning southeastern sky, from east to west: Venus (-4.0), Jupiter (mag -2.2), Mars (+0.8) and Saturn (+0.8)
  • The Moon is First Quarter on Monday
  • The Sun currently has three active regions: AR 3001, 3004 & 3006. The sunspot number is 66
  • There are multiple visible evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Friday: 22:18, SSW to SSE, max 19° & 23:53, WSW to E, max 14°
    Saturday: 21:30, S to ESE, max 13° & 23:05, SW to E, max 49°
    Sunday: 22:17, SW to E, max 36° & 23:53, W to E, max 89°

Week of 2nd May

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 23:03 BST at the start of the week and at 23:25 BST by the end of the week
  • Our morning sky is a feast of planets, with (from east to west): Venus (-4.1), Jupiter (mag -2.1), Mars (+0.9) and Saturn (+0.9) creating a line over our southeastern horizon in the pre-dawn hour
  • The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on Thursday morning. It has a broad peak, so it is worth trying to spot an Eta Aquarid meteor on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. The shower’s radiant, in Aquarius, is low to our horizon, so it is not a very productive shower for the northern hemisphere, with a ZHR of around 30. It is more impressive in the southern hemisphere. The shower is produced by dust particles left behind by comet 1P/Halley
  • The Moon is Waxing Crescent all week
  • The Sun currently has four active regions: AR 2995, 2997, 2999 & 3001. The sunspot number is 50
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week