By Mario Carr
Would you like fries with that super sized moon?
This month’s full moon called the Flower Moon on May 5 will be bigger and brighter than usual. It will be the largest full moon for all of 2012.
No, the moon hasn’t magically expanded. It will actually be closer to us. The last time this occurred was March 2011 and it raised too much publicity because it occurs every 12 or 13 full moons. So it’s not rare.
There are times throughout the month when the moon moves closer called perigee and other times when it moves furthest from us called apogee.
This month, timing is just right. Perigee will occur at exactly the same time as the full moon. The moon will be 356,953 km from us and will seem huge.
On the same night aftermidnight, the Eta Aquarids meteor shower peaks. As far as meteor showers go this is a minor one. From a dark location you could see up to 10 meteors per hour. Some can be seen May 4 -7. However, this year the full moon will wash out most of the meteors.
Here are May stargazing events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.
Mercury is low in the east during morning twilight and can’t be seen after mid month. Say good bye to Venus as one of the brightest objects in the night sky. It can be seen in the west during evening twilight but will be more difficult to see as the month progresses.
Mars is high in the south at sunset and sets around3 a.m.Saturn is in the south east at sunset. Uranus rises in the east around5 a.m.
May 3 and 4 – The moon is near Saturn and Spica.
May 12 – First quarter moon
May 18 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting at 7:30-9:30 p.m., Spectator building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton. Featured Speakers; Rob Cockcroft, The June 5 Venus Transit and other transits and John Gauvreau, The sky this month. Free admission with door prizes. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected.
May 19 – The moon is apogee or furthest away from the Earth for all of 2012 at 406,450 km.
May 20 – A partial solar eclipse can be seen from our area at sunset.
May 22 – The crescent moon is below Venus low in the early evening sky.
May 26 – Brantfordpublic observing, Brantford Mall, 300 King George Rd, 8-11 p.m.Observe celestial objects through telescopes. This is a free event, everyone is welcome and is weather and clouds permitting. Please check the club’s website for updates.
May 28 – Last quart moon. The moon is also below Mars.
May 31 – The moon is below Saturn and Spica in the evening sky.
For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323.
- Maya cosmology and 2012 (theskythismonth.wordpress.com)
- Those dog nights of winter (theskythismonth.wordpress.com)