The stars were a navigational tool for our ancestors, like a literal map to light the way. The moon’s gravity pulls the tide and the sun brings us warmth and life. The Earth’s tilt and rotation bring us seasons and crops, while the planets manipulate our moods and personality. If you’re an avid believer in astrology as I am, it gets even deeper. It’s a logical connection right? I mean, we are literally made of the stuff stars are made of. And even if you are a pragmatist and don’t care for metaphysical notions, you can’t deny the awe inspiring beauty and mystery of the cosmos.
Looking up at the sky with fascination has always been a profoundly human thing. So at a time like now when many of us may feel anxious or blue, what better way to cure that nagging feeling of isolation than looking up at the stars and realizing we are all part of the same grand design? This month there are several astronomical events to check out, so if you want to see some truly miraculous cosmic action, opt to spend a warm evening on the patio and enjoy the breathtaking view.
May 22 – New Moon – The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at (17:39 UTC) Universal Time Coordinated. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
May 23 – Comet Atlas – Newly discovered comet Atlas will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 72 million miles. It will be brightest object in the night sky besides the moon.
June 4 – Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation – The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 23.6 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
June 5 – Full Moon – The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 19:12 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Strawberry Moon because it signaled the time of year to gather ripening fruit. It also coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvesting season. This moon has also been known as the Rose Moon and the Honey Moon.
June 5 – Penumbral Lunar eclipse – Penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbra. During this type of eclipse the Moon will darken slightly but not completely.