Sky of Alexandria in May 2018
01 May 2018

The Sky of May 2018 has Astronomical Phenomena other than Ramadan Crescent

By mid-May 2018, people will be observing the sky for the crescent of the holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of fasting rituals. Despite this event and its astronomical details, the sky of May will be full of other astronomical bodies and phenomena worth observing; let’s outline some of their features:
Saturday, 6 May 2018
On Saturday night, 6 May 2018, we recommend that you choose a dark and high altitude spot, away from any light pollution; to join millions of amateur astronomers in observing Eta Aquarid meteor shower. It is produced by dust particles left behind by the famous comet Halley, falling on Earth’s surface.
If you set yourself up to observe the sky that night, you would not need any means of monitoring; the meteors would be seen the naked eye. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere, where the Eta Aquarids is capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour. In the Northern Hemisphere, of course including the sky of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour; a few good ones to observe.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018
On Wednesday, 9 May 2018, amateur astronomers and sky-observers will have an opportunity to observe another beautiful phenomenon known as “Jupiter at Opposition”. This happens because Jupiter lies opposite to the Sun and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun, which means that it will be brighter than any other time of the year. The planet will be visible from Earth, and it is the best time to view and photograph the giant planet sparkling in our skies.
Jupiter can be seen with the naked eye to the south, and it will be remarkable. Using a binocular or a small-sized telescope, you can enjoy a special night with your friends while watching Jupiter's moons and special atmosphere. The most appropriate time for observation will be at 12:00 am as seen in the picture from Stellarium program. You can also roam among Jupiter, Saturn and Mars as shown in the picture.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018
On the night of Tuesday, 15 May 2018/25 Shaban1439, Ramadan crescent will be observed right after sunset. It is impossible to observe the crescent on that day, according to astrological calculations, because moonset will occur before sunset. Accordingly, Wednesday, 16 May will mark the end of a 30-day Shaban, and Thursday, 17 May will mark the first day of Ramadan.
The picture below is a screenshot from one of the most famous astronomical websites accredited for astronomical calculations that show this year’s observations conditions. Happy Ramadan!

Written by Dr. Omar Fikry
Planetarium Science Center, Bibliotheca Alexandrina


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