THE SOLAR SYSTEM IN MAY 2020
Dates and times shown are NZST (UT + 12 hours). Rise and Set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data is adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.1
THE SUN and PLANETS in May 2020, Rise & Set Mag. & Cons. May 1 NZST May 31 NZST Mag Cons Rise Set Mag Cons Rise Set SUN -26.7 Ari 7.05am 5.29pm -26.7 Tau 7.33am 5.03pm Merc -1.8 Ari 6.40am 5.20pm 0.1 Gem 9.30am 6.26pm Venus -4.7 Tau 10.37am 7.10pm -4.2 Tau 8.10am 5.16pm Mars 0.4 Cap 12.18am 2.22pm -0.0 Aqr 12.03am 1.18pm Jup -2.4 Sgr 10.13pm 12.59pm -2.6 Sgr 8.14pm 11.01am Sat 0.6 Cap 10.38pm 1.15pm 0.4 Cap 8.39pm 11.17am Uran 5.9 Ari 6.45am 5.18pm 5.9 Ari 4.52am 3.21pm Nep 7.9 Aqr 2.44am 3.26pm 7.9 Aqr 12.49am 1.30pm Pluto 14.5 Sgr 10.00pm 12.56pm 14.5 Sgr 8.01pm 10.58am May 1 NZST May 31 NZST Twilights morning evening morning evening Civil: start 6.39am, end 5.56pm start 7.05am, end 5.31pm Nautical: start 6.07am, end 6.29pm start 6.31am, end 6.06pm Astro: start 5.34am, end 7.01pm start 5.58am, end 6.39pm May PHASES OF THE MOON, times NZ & UT First quarter: May 1 at 8.38am (Apr 30, 20:38 UT) Full Moon: May 7 at 10.45pm (10:45 UT) Last quarter: May 15 at 2.03am (May 14, 14:03 UT) New Moon: May 23 at 5.39am (May 22, 17:39 UT) First quarter: May 30 at 3.30pm (03:30 UT)
PLANETS in MAY 2020
MERCURY is at superior conjunction with the Sun on May 4. Following conjunction, it becomes an evening planet. By the end of May the planet sets some 80 minutes after the Sun. A little before 6pm, towards the end of May, it may be visible very low to the north-west.
VENUS, as an evening object, sets about 100 minutes after the Sun at the beginning of May. It will then be visible as a brilliant object rather low to the north-west soon after sunset. The elongation of Venus steadily decreases during May, especially after it is stationary on the 13th. By the 31st it will be only 5° from the Sun so unobservable.
Venus and Mercury are less than a degree apart on May 22. They will be very difficult to see, requiring a clear low horizon. Half an hour after sunset Venus will be only 2° up with Mercury to its upper left.
JUPITER and SATURN are about 5° apart throughout May. Saturn is stationary on the 11th, Jupiter on the 15th (NZ time). Hence both will be slow moving all month. The moon joins the two planets on the night of 12/13 May. It is about 3° from each planet about 1am.
PLUTO is 2° from Jupiter on the opposite side to Saturn.
MARS rises shortly after midnight. It moves to the east away from Jupiter and Saturn during May, crossing from Capricornus to Aquarius on the 8th. On May 16 the moon, near last quarter, will be 5° to the left of Mars an hour before sunrise.
URANUS moves up into the morning sky during May. It is too close to the Sun for observation early in the month, but by the end of May it will rise more than two and a half hours before the Sun. NEPTUNE, also a morning object, rises 4 hours before Uranus.
POSSIBLE BINOCULAR ASTEROIDS in MAY May 1 NZST May 31 NZST Mag Cons transit Mag Cons transit (1) Ceres 9.2 Aqr .8.09am 9.0 Aqr 6.44am (4) Vesta 8.5 Tau 2.43pm 8.4 Ori 1.39pm
CERES is a morning object. It rises at 1am NZST on the 1st and 11.37pm on the 31st.
VESTA is an evening object getting low by the end of May. It sets at 7.30 pm NZST on the 1st and 6.18 pm on the 31st. Vesta is about 5° from Venus mid May and moves from Taurus to Orion on the 29th.