In the next two weeks the Moon will be observable in the pre-dawn sky making it convenient for all early risers. The Moon will pass by Saturn, and Venus. The Moon also passes by the bright stars Altair, Vega, Deneb, Formalhaut, and Antares. The Moon passes though the constellations Scorpius, Ophiuchus (Off E U cus), Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces. Note: This is based on information for Aurora, CO, but is close enough for use in other locations.
The Moon will go from Full Moon (May 14) to New Moon (no moon visible) in the next two weeks. Watch how the Moon changes position and phase as it orbits the Earth. Observe the Moon thirty minutes to one hour before sunrise (approximately 5:45am to 5:46am MDT towards month’s end) if you can. After a few days, see if you can predict where the Moon will be in the sky and its phase the next day. It’s a pattern our forefathers knew well, but lost to most of us living in the modern lighted world. You might just be surprised on how easy it is.
May 14-21: The waning gibbous (gets smaller) phases. The Moon starts off as a Full Moon on the western horizon opposite the rising Sun in the east. Over the next six days the Moon’s phase will get smaller or wan as the Moon moves easterly toward the rising Sun.
May 14: The Full Moon is in the constellation Libra the scales. There are no bright stars in Libra. Saturn is very close and above the Moon.
May 15: the Moon moves to the constellation Scorpius the scorpion. Saturn is to the right of the Moon. Left of the Moon is the bright star Antares, a red super giant. See if you can detect the red hue. If Antares were the Sun the Earth and Mars would be orbiting inside of it.
May 16: The Moon enters the constellation Ophiuchus the serpent-bearer and thirteenth constellation of the Zodiac. Astrologically the Zodiac has only twelve. There are no bright stars in Ophiuchus. The Moon is above and slightly left of Antares.
May 17-18: The Moon is in the constellation Sagittarius the archer. Sagittarius points the way to the center of our galaxy. Amateur astronomers often refer to Sagittarius as the “Tea Pot” because the pattern of stars looks more like a tea pot rather than an archer. Sagittarius has no noticeably bright stars. The Moon will pass over the bright star Formalhaut in the constellation Piscis Austrinus the southern fish. Formalhaut sits low on the horizon.
May 19: The Moon is well below Altair in the constellation Aqulia the eagle. Above Altair overhead are Vega ( right) in Lyra the harp and Deneb (left) in Cygnus the swan. Deneb is the dimmest of the three, but the farthest away at 1700 light years making it one of the most distant stars you can see. It burns at least 54,000 times brighter than the Sun. Look for this group in the evening in the East after sunset in June.
May 20: The Moon is in the constellation Capricornus, the goat. There are no noticeably bright stars in Capricornus.
May 21-22: The Moon in is the constellation of Aquarius the water bearer. There are no noticeably bright stars in Aquarius. The Moon will pass over the bright star Formalhaut in the constellation Piscis Austrinus the southern fish. Formalhaut sits low on the horizon. On May 21 The Moon is at third (or last) quarter or half-moon. At this phase the Moon is approximately in the same place in space the Earth and you will be in 3.5 hours. A bright Venus is lower left of the Moon.
May 23-28: The waning crescent (gets smaller) phases. The Moon starts off as a Last Quarter Moon. Over the next six days the Moon’s crescent will thin as the Moon moves easterly diving toward the rising Sun.
May 23-25: The Moon will be in the constellation Pisces the fishes. There are no noticeably bright stars in Pisces. The Moon will join up with Venus on May 25. The Moon will be just above Venus
May 26-28: The Moon will be to close to the rising Sun to be safely observed.
Wishing you clear skies.