May Sky Charts

Astronomical dark does not occur after the 2nd week of May until the first week of August in Kendal.

Solar Ephemeris for Kendal

  • on Tuesday the 07th of May 2024:
  • sunrise occurs 05:18
  • sunset occurs 20:57
  • Astronomical dark begins 00:23
  • Astronomical dark ends 01:42 the next morning

Kendal Ephemerides for today are on our Welcome page

Moon Phase Chart

Phase May 2024
3rd Quarter1st
New Moon8th
1st Quarter15th
Full Moon23rd
3rd Quarter30th

Skip down to the sky charts

May Highlights

The eta-Aquarids meteor showers peaks May 6th.over the summer. Activity is from mid-April to the end of May. Activity up to 50 per hour but the radiant is low in the sky.

Now is the ideal time for imaging or detecting the faint fuzzies in Ursa Major, The Great Bear, as the constellation is almost directly overhead. As mentioned last month, Lambda λ and Mu μ, forming one of the rear legs of the Bear, are 1¾ degrees apart and make a fine binocular pairing [or very low power telescopic object] as they are of distinctly different colours; λ is white (spectral type A2) whilst μ is very red (M0). Mizar (magnitude 2.1), in the tail, is an easy naked eye double with Alcor (4.0), separation 12’ of arc. Between the two, forming a nice triangle, lies the eighth magnitude star named Sidus Ludovicianum just visible in x8 binoculars. Mizar is itself double but requires a telescope to separate the two stars.

Using a 4” telescope at x48, a whole host of galaxies are visible: there are many fine galaxies, the best being M81 and M82 . You will require a telescope for M106 , 107 , 108 and 109 . Close to M108 is the slightly brighter Owl Nebula, M97 , with its two ‘eyes’.

In nearby Canes Venatici , there are another two magnitude 8 spiral galaxies; The Sunflower Galaxy M63 and M94 in addition to the splendid Whirlpool Galaxy M51 at the end of the tail of the Great Bear.

To the south, the constellation of Virgo is in centre place. However, Leo is still the most obvious constellation. With the massive Virgo Cluster and the two groupings in Leo, the area is full of galaxies. There is the Leo Triplet of galaxies M65, M66 and NGC3628 which are visible in small telescopes below the tail of Leo. Beneath the belly of the lion are another three galaxies; M95, M96 & M105. Virgo itself is not a very exciting constellation. Its brightest star, Spica, is a blue giant star 2000 times as luminous as the Sun. It is actually a very close binary but too close for amateur telescopes to separate. Slightly west straddling the border with Leo, lies the extensive Virgo Cluster of galaxies. There are too many galaxies to mention here but M86, M87 and M84 are notable. These are very well placed in May at a reasonable time of the evening. M84 and M86 are part of Markarian’s Chain, a smoothly curved line of galaxies in the Virgo Cluster.

In addition, in Canes Venatici there is M3, a stunning globular cluster which is nice in binoculars.

In Cancer is the spectacular naked eye M44, Praesepe or the Beehive Cluster, which makes a fine binocular or low power telescope object. Nearby lies M67, an open cluster which is nice in binoculars although it is sometimes said to be naked eye visible.

As mentioned last month, the three stars forming Coma Berenices are in an area rich in stars and worth sweeping with binoculars. The globular cluster M53 lies just east of the most southern and brightest of this trio of stars, Cor Caroli . Just north is M64 , The Black-Eye Galaxy and just within binocular range.

In the east, Hercules is prominent with the large globular of M13 being an easy binocular object and lovely photographic target. A second globular cluster M92 is almost as good as M13.

In Bootes , Arcturus is a lovely light orange and ε similarly. Very close to ε and on the same binocular field of view is W-Bootis , another orange-red hued star.

Cygnus and Lyra are now becoming better to see with the usual interesting objects there. But these will be much better placed later in the year.

Ophiuchus , a large constellation which spans the celestial equator, contains several globular clusters, the brightest pair being M10 and M12. In addition, there is M14 , and just below the horizon at the time of the map are M19 and M4

Sky Charts for May

Looking up, south is at the bottom.

Looking up in May South at the bottom.

Looking up in May South at the bottom. Click for a larger image.

Looking South in May

Looking South in May.

Looking South in May. Click for a larger image.

Looking East in May

Looking East in May.

Looking East in May. Click for a larger image.

Looking West in May

Looking West in May.

Looking West in May. Click for a larger image.

Looking North in May

Looking North in May.

Looking North in May. Click for a larger image.