May 2022 Stargazing Guide

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2022


Orbax appears on starry background.
-[Orbax]: Greetings junior scientists, scientists and citizens of this great big weird, wild and wonderful world in which we live. As always I'm your humble science communicator, the Great Orbax, coming to you here from the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph and I'd like to welcome you to our May 2022 Star Gazing Guide!
Orbax disappears and the screen fades to black, he reappears on a night sky background.
-[Orbax]: As we hurriedly saunter into May, we celebrate the peak of spring and the rapidly approaching summer months. May signifies a great many things to a great many people here on earth but up there we have some incredible celestial events taking place. This month we have a planetary conjunction, spring constellations and a blood flower moon lunar eclipse! [Which I've got to say is probably the greatest name for anything that I've ever announced on here] All of these we can easily see if we just take some time to look up.
Orbax looks and points up, he shrinks and fades out.
Orbac reappears. 
-[Orbax]: Over the course of our stargazing adventures we've talked a lot about famous constellations but this month I'd like to introduce you to two new constellations that we've never met before. In January we talked about the quadrantid meteor shower and it was then that we met Bootes.
Star diagram of Bootes and text indicating east southeast appears on screen.
-[Orbax]: Visible near Bootes in the east southeast sky are Canes Venatici
Diagram of Canes Venatici constellation appears and disappears
-[Orbax]: and Coma Berenices.
Diagram of Coma Berenices constellation appears and disappears
-[Orbax]: These are northern constellations which means that they can only be seen in the northern celestial hemisphere.
Diagram of Canes Venatici constellation appears
-[Orbax]: Canes Venatici translates to hunting dogs in latin and the constellation represents Asterion and Chara, the dogs of Bootes the herdsman. This constellation contains the star La Superba which is one of the brightest red stars in the sky. See if you can spot it junior scientists!
Diagram of Coma Berenices constellation appears
-[Orbax]: Right beside Canes Venatici is Coma Berenices or Berenice's Hair. While not a large constellation it contains a number of interesting deep space objects including the northern part of the
Small section of night sky background is enlarged.
-[Orbax]: Virgo cluster of galaxies, the closest cluster of galaxies to the Milky Way! That's us!
Background changes to flower with greenery.
-[Orbax]: The Ojibwe of the great lakes called the may full moon Zaagibagaa-giizis, the budding moon, signifying a time when mother earth again provides healing medicines. The Cree of north america and the Mi'kmaq associate the May moon with the croaking of frogs
Frog appears in background
-[Orbax]: ​​​​​​​while the Cherokee call it the planting moon,
background changes to hands planting seeds
-[Orbax]: when the fields are plowed and sown. Similarly most European cultures refer to it as the
Background changes to large full moon
-[Orbax]: corn planting moon, the milk moon, or the flower moon. Actually this month we have a Blood Flower Moon lunar eclipse! That's right! A full lunar eclipse will take place on the night of May 15th into the morning of May 16th. So what exactly is a lunar eclipse?
Animated diagram of Solar eclipse appears in the background
-[Orbax]: You're likely familiar with a solar eclipse. Now this occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun but what's a lunar eclipse?
Animated diagram of Lunar eclipse appears in the background
-[Orbax]: Well a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon actually falls into the earth's shadow, but the moon appears to line up with the earth like this twice a month during New Moon and Full Moon so why don't we have eclipses twice a month then? Well it's actually a little more complicated than that. The plane of the moon's orbit around the earth is actually tilted with respect to the plane of the earth's orbit around the sun, but here's the thing, the moon's orbit stays fixed with respect to the stars meaning that tilt actually changes with respect to the Earth and twice a year it actually lines up in such a way that the Moon passes through the Earth's shadow and that is when we have a lunar eclipse. As the moon passes through the Earth's shadow it will still be visible and it might even have a red tinge to it. So why is that?
New diagram of the Earth and moon during Lunar eclipse appears in background
-[Orbax]: As light passes through the Earth's atmosphere it's scattered, meaning that shorter wavelengths like blue light are actually diverted away from the Moon whereas longer wavelengths like red light are what pass through and illuminate the Moon.
Animated diagrm of what the Earth would look like during the Lunar eclipse.
-[Orbax]: As a matter of fact if you happen to be standing on the Moon during the lunar eclipse you'd actually be bathed in a red glow and see a red ring emanating from around the Earth which is all the remains of the light escaping Earth's atmosphere
Orbax appears back on screen on a black background
-[Orbax]: of all the sunrises and sunsets that are taking place along the edge of the Earth. Now, unlike a solar eclipse, it's perfectly safe to look at a lunar eclipse with the unaided eye, a pair of binoculars or even a telescope.
A map of the world indicating where there will be Full Eclipse, Most Visible Eclipse and Part of Eclipse Visible appears in the background.
-[Orbax]: Here at the University of Guelph and in most of North America we'll be able to see the lunar eclipse in its entirety.
Animated diagram of the progression of the eclipse appears in the background
-[Orbax]: It will begin at approximately 9:32 pm on May 15th when the moonlight starts to dim. Around 10:30 pm areas of the moon will be covered in darkness and the full eclipse will take place from 11:29 pm to about 12:53 am when the Moon will be bathed in that reddish glow that we talked about before. The Moon will continue to be in shadow until about 2:50 am on May 16th.
Diagram showing the dates for the First Quarter, FUll, THird Quarter and New Moon phases appears in the background.
-[Orbax]: Now talking about moons on May 30th is a New Moon which means it will have plenty of dark sky at the end of the month for our stargazing.
Phases of the moon disappear and an image of Jupiter appears on Orbax's right and an image of Mars appears on his left.
-[Orbax]: Our pals Jupiter and Mars will be exchanging positions in the pre-dawn sky from May 28th to the 30th.
The planets disappear and it is just Orbax with a night sky background.
-[Orbax]: You should be able to see this with the unaided eye but if you have a pair of binoculars or a small telescope point it towards the southeast sky
Orbax shrinks to lower left of screen and planets return.
-[Orbax]: just before dawn and you'll see conjunction occur on May 29th. You might even be able to see one of Jupiter's bigger moons! While we cruise into the summer months it can be daunting to think that our hours of evening star gazing are decreasing however I guarantee you junior scientists that our best days are yet to come and all we've got to do is look up.
Orbax points and looks up. Background changes to bright orange sky
-[Orbax]: Don't forget to have a science-tastic day!
Orbax gives a thumbs up
-[Orbax]: Special thanks to Royal City Science's own planetary geochemist Dr. Glynis Perrett for her help preparing our Star Gazing Guide.
Image of Dr. Glynis Perrett and Royal City Science logo appear on the right half of the screen.
-[Orbax]: We'd also like to thank the Skyview app and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
Screen changes to say SkyView: Explore the Universe with a night sky, montage in the background, then shows Royal Astronomical Society Logo and finally; All Remaining images and video courtesy of NASA/JPL Licensed under creative commons for education. Original Music by Jeff Munro, SoundcloudLink in Video Description.
Screen changes to Guelph Physics logo

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