May is named for the Greek goddess Maia. Maia is associated motherhood, nurturing, and midwifes. Maia is also one of the stars in the Pleiades the seven sisters, one removed. May is the fifth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars. In early Rome it was the third month. According to the roman poet Ovid, bad girls wed in May.
- Full Moon: May 3
- Last Quarter Moon: May 11
- Closest from Earth: May 14 (227,437 super-size Moon)
- New Moon: May 18
- First Quarter Moon: May 25
- Farthest to Earth: May 25 (251,186 miles mini-size Moon)
- Early evening after sunset: Mercury: first two weeks of the month look west low on horizon
- Venus: look west, the brightest object
- Jupiter: look west the bright “star” above Venus
- Saturn: rises mid-month, look east
- Mars is behind the Sun
- May 14: The Sun enters the astronomical constellation Taurus
- May 21: The Sun enters the astrological sign Gemini
- May 1: May Day or Beltane (an ancient Gaelic festival celebrated in Ireland and Scotland) is celebrated throughout the world as the beginning of summer. May 1 is a cross-quarter day. Cross-quarter days are half-way between the beginning and end of each season. For thousands of years, cross-quarter days were and still are used to signal the unofficial beginning of the seasons. In the US Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer.
- May 6: Eta Aquarids peak. The Moon is nearly full interfering with the shower. Best observed at early dawn after the Moon has set. Expect ten meteors per hour.
- All Month: Evening looking west. Watch Venus, the brightest “star” in the western sky move toward Jupiter, the bright object above and left of Venus.
- May 1: Evening looking east. See a fat gibbous moon above the star Spica. Both the Moon and Spica are in the constellation Virgo. See May 29.
- May 4: Evening looking southeast after 10pm. See Saturn below a bright Moon.
- May 5: Morning before sunrise looking west. The Moon will be very close to Saturn.
- May 21: Evening looking west. See a crescent moon to the left of Venus. The Moon and Venus are in the constellation Gemini. The two stars above Venus are Pollux (left) and Castor (right), the Gemini twins.
- May 23: Chamberlin Observatory Open House weather permitting. The observatory’s 20” telescope and telescopes belonging to members of the Denver Astronomical Society will be available for viewing. Click here for more information.
- May 23: Evening looking west. See a crescent moon to the below of Jupiter. Both the Moon and Venus are in the constellation Cancer.
- May 24: Evening looking west. See a crescent moon to the below of the star Regulus. Both the Moon and Venus are in the constellation Leo.
- May 29: Evening looking south. A fat gibbous moon returns to Spica and the constellation Virgo.
- May31: Evening looking east. See a near full Moon above and left of Saturn. Both the Moon and Saturn are in the constellation Lyra.
- May 5, 1961: Alan Shepard, the first American in space, made a suborbital flight in the Mercury capsule Freedom Seven.
- May 14, 1973: The United States launches its first space station, Skylab.
Wishing you clear skies