May’s planets are lining up for their close approaches with the Moon this month, with Saturn, Mars, and Mercury getting up close and personal with our planet’s only natural satellite.

Use the above image as a guide to get you started. Astronomical images provided by SkySafari, a Simulation Curriculum Company, All rights reserved www.simulationcurriculum.com.

Close approach of Saturn and the Moon | 4th May

The Moon and Saturn are the first conjunction (a conjunction is where two astronomical objects, likes planets, appear close together in the sky), appearing in the early morning of 4th May. The pair are rising together in the early morning sky, the Moon first at 2.10am followed by Saturn just after 2.20am.

When to look: From around 2.30am, 4th May

Which direction to look: Look to the eastern horizon: Saturn and the moon are in the constellation of Aquarius.

The moon and Mars make a close approach on 5th May

Close approach of Mars and the Moon | 5th May

The Moon and Mars take the opportunity on 5th May to make a close approach in the hours before daybreak. The moon comes up around 3.20am, and the red planet is close behind at around 3.35am.

When to look: From around 3.45am, 5th May

Which direction to look: Look to the eastern horizon: Mars and the moon are in the constellation of Pisces.

Image shows a screenshot of Stellarium, displaying the moon and Mars making a close approach around 3.45am on 5th May 2024

Close approach of Mercury and the Moon | 6th May

Not to be outdone by the others, the Moon and Mercury, will make their own close approach in the early morning of 6th May. The Moon is rising just before 4.30am, and Mercury, messenger of the gods, follows about 20 minutes later.

When to look: From just before dawn, around 5.15am, 6th May

Which direction to look: Look to the eastern horizon: Mercury and the moon are in the constellation of Pisces.

Image shows a screenshot of Stellarium, displaying a close approach of the moon and Mercury make in the early morning of 6th May 2024

 

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