Weymouth Astronomy

The Planets - May 2018

Observing the planets can be extremely rewarding. Everyone remembers the first time they observed Saturn and it's rings or the gas giant Jupiter and it's Galillean Moons. Solar System


Mercury reached greatest elongation east from the Sun on April 29th and might just be glimpsed low above the western horizon for the first few days of May. For the remainder of the month the inner most planet will lie too close to the Sun to be visible.


Venus can be seen in the west after sunset blazing brightly at magnitude -3.9 all month. Venus starts the month in Taurus not far above the Hyades Cluster and passes into Gemini on the 19th.


Mars starts the month in Sagittarius and moves into Capricornus in mid-May. Now a morning object and rises at around 1:30am BST at the start of the month and a little after midnight by May 31st.


Jupiter reaches opposition on May 8th, so will be visible all night. Lying in Libra during the month and is heading towards the southern part of the ecliptic and will only have an elevation of 20 degrees when crossing the meridian.


Saturn rises at around midnight on the first of May and a couple of hours earlier by month's end. Saturn lying in Sagittarius is close to the topmost star of the 'teapot'. It will been seen best just before dawn but sadly even when at opposition later in the year it will only reach an elevation of just over 15 degrees above the horizon

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine