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    Articles > May 2003
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The Night Sky Planisphere

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David Levy's Guide to the Stars

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All skywatchers need a planisphere. It will quickly show the night sky for any time and date. More info»

  Sky Calendar -- May 2003
1 Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) at 8h UT (distance 406,529 km; angular size 29.4').
1 New Moon at 12:15 UT. Beginning of lunation 994.
5 Moon near Saturn (mag. +0.1) at 8h UT (evening sky).
6 Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks. Active from April 19 to May 28. Produces fast, faint meteors (10­20 per hour). Best seen in the southeast 1 to 2 hours before dawn.
7 Transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun.
Observers require a safe Sun filter attached securely to the front of their telescope in order to see Mercury's tiny disk pass in front of the Sun. The event will be visible from Europe, Africa, and Asia. Observers in northeastern North America can catch the end of the event shortly after sunrise. Transit begins at 5:13 UT; mid-transit at 7:52 UT; ends at 10:32 UT.
8 Moon near Jupiter (mag. ­2.0) at 20h UT.
9 First Quarter Moon at 11:53 UT.
10 Astronomy Day 2003 is celebrated today!
15 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 16h UT (distance 357,449 km; angular size 33.5').
16 Total Lunar Eclipse begins at 3:14 UT and ends at 4:06 UT (mid-eclipse at 3:40 UT). Event favors observers in the Americas. During totality the Moon will take on a red-orange color (the Earth's shadow).
16 Full Moon at 3:36 UT. The full Moon of May is called the "Planting Moon" or "Milk Moon" in old almanacs.
21 Moon near Mars (mag. ­0.4) at 22h UT (morning sky).
23 Last Quarter Moon at 0:31 UT.
26 Mercury near Venus at 17h UT (23° from Sun, morning sky).
28 Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) at 13h UT (distance 406,168 km; angular size 29.4').
29 Moon near Venus and Mercury at 1h UT (morning sky).
31 Annular Solar Eclipse soon after sunrise in parts of Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland. Partial phases visible in Europe and parts of Asia.
31 New Moon at 4:20 UT. Second for the month. Beginning of lunation 995.
All times Universal Time (UT). (USA Eastern Summer Time = UT ­ 4 hours)

Clear skies till next month!

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