Moon and Mars

On April 26 we had the first Super Moon of this year.  The next and last one of this year will be the May Full Moon.  If you don't know, a Super Moon is when it's closest to Earth making the Full Moon very large.

A lunar perigee is when the moon is closest to Earth. The May Full Moon will occur 9 hours after it reaches its perigee to Earth.  When the Full Moon and perigee are less than 24 hours apart, it's called a Super Moon.

What's interesting about this is that it always raises the Ocean tides.  The Full Moon always does this, but when it's also a Super Moon it raises them even more.  So when you go to the ocean, be aware of this.

By April 29 the moon starts to rise later each night giving us more sky watching time. Now in late April and early May, we'll be able to see the daytime moon.  Just look in the west to see the morning moon.

Planet Mercury shines at its brightest early in May, and then dims down.  But since it's going to move farther from the Sun, it will actually get brighter.  It will reach its greatest elongation from the Sun on May 17 when it becomes as bright as a 1stmagnitude star.

When you look in the west after Sunset, you will see that Venus is beginning to rise to become evening viewing.  Mercury is currently a little higher than Venus and slightly to the left.

In early May Mercury sets 1 hour and 15 minutes after Sunset. Mid May it sets 1 hour and 55 minutes after sunset.  Late May it sets 1 hour and 5 minutes after sunset.  The last week of May Venus will begin to climb away from the Suns glare, and on May 28 it will catch up with Mercury.  With them together you will most likely need binoculars to see fainter Mercury, since Venus is so bright.  In early May it shines 40 times brighter than it will when it joins up with Venus.

Also, on May 3-4-5 the moon joins up with Jupiter and Saturn in the early morning.  I still observe them every morning as soon as I get up. They're fun to look at.  Also, now is the start of the Eta Aquarid Meteor shower. It runs from April 19 to May 28, and peaks on the morning of May 6.  It appears just to the upper left of Jupiter.  So when you look at Jupiter and Saturn, look for the meteors too.