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In the Sky This Month

The Moon stages some especially close encounters with several stars and one planet this month, snuggling as close as a couple of degrees from them. The stars include Regulus and Spica, the leading lights of Leo and Virgo, which are in view almost all night. The constellations Hydra, Crater, and Corvus, which have a shared myth, are in great view as well, scooting low across the south during the evening.

May 29: Moving Mars

Mars is a third of the way up the western sky at sunset and looks like a fairly bright orange star. It’s to the upper left of Venus, the brilliant Evening Star, by a little more than the width of your fist held at arm’s length.

May 30: Moon and Spica

The Moon stands near the middle of the largest member of the zodiac tonight, the constellation Virgo. Spica, its brightest star, is close to the Moon at nightfall, and the Moon will slide even closer to it during the night.

May 31: Sombrero Galaxy

The Moon is passing through the constellation Virgo tonight, with its leading light, Spica, close to the Moon’s upper right. A beautiful galaxy, the Sombrero, is about the same distance to the lower right of Spica. It’s an easy target for telescopes.

June 1: Mars and the Beehive

The planet Mars will pass directly across M44, the Beehive Cluster, over the next couple of nights. They are a third of the way up the western sky at nightfall, to the upper left of Venus, the Evening Star. Mars looks like a fairly bright orange star.

June 2: Short Moon

The Moon will be full tomorrow night. It’s the Flower Moon, Rose Moon, or Strawberry Moon. But it also can be called the Short-Night Moon. It puts in one of the shortest appearances of any full Moon of the year. Only July’s Moon will surpass its brevity, although not by much.

June 3: Moon and Antares

Antares, the heart of the scorpion, is close to the full Moon tonight. Antares is one of the most colorful stars in the night sky, shining reddish orange. The color indicates that its surface temperature is much lower than the temperature of the yellow Sun.

June 4: Summer Triangle

The Moon is just a day past full tonight, so it overpowers the fainter stars. But some bright stars shine through. Among them are the points of the Summer Triangle, Vega, Deneb, and Altair, which are in the east and northeast as twilight fades.

Full MoonFull May 5, 12:34 pm

Last quarterLast May 12, 9:28 am

New MoonNew May 19, 10:53 am

First QuarterFirst May 27, 10:22 am

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Perigee May 11

Apogee May 25

The full Moon of May is known as the Milk Moon, Flower Moon, or Corn Moon.