May 2023 is set to be an exciting month for astronomy enthusiasts around the world, with several astronomical events scheduled to occur during this time. From meteor showers to planetary alignments, let's take a closer look at what we can expect to see in the skies this May.
May is the month where we no longer see aurora in the northern hemisphere due to more hours of daylight. Our locations in northern Scandinavia will soon be bathing in 24 hours of sunlight as Spring finally arrives for them. Aurora season starts again in mid-August when the autumnal blanket of colour covers the northern hemisphere.
On May 6th, the Eta Aquarids meteor shower will reach its peak. This meteor shower is created by the debris left behind by Halley's Comet, which passes through Earth's atmosphere each year. This year, the Eta Aquarids will be visible in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the best viewing conditions occurring after midnight. During the peak, skywatchers can expect to see up to 30 meteors per hour, streaking across the sky at speeds of up to 148,000 miles per hour.
Later in the month, on May 26th, there will be a total lunar eclipse visible from parts of North and South America, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific. During a lunar eclipse, the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, casting a reddish hue on the Moon's surface. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as a "blood moon" and is a stunning sight to behold.
In conclusion, May 2023 is shaping up to be an exciting month for astronomy enthusiasts, with several celestial events scheduled to occur. Whether you're interested in meteor showers, planetary transits, or deep-sky objects, there's something for everyone to enjoy this May. So, mark your calendars, grab your telescopes, and get ready to explore the wonders of the universe.