In Manx skies... May 2018 ~ compiled by Dave Storey


15th at 11.49h

First Quarter
22nd at 03.50h

29th at 14.21h

Last Quarter
8th at 02.10h

© Copyright

Note: All times are Universal Time (UT)
British Summer Time is now in force. Remember to add 1 hour to any times quoted here to get local IoM time.

There are no Lunar or Solar eclipses this month.


Solar activity is low with solar cycle 24 now in force.


Carrington's Solar Rotation number 2204 starts on the 16th at 10h56m47s.


Is found in the morning skies just before sunrise. However, the planet is poorly placed for viewing from northern latitudes due to the shallow angle of the ecliptic plane with the horizon. The planet is best suited for southern hemisphere observers.


Will be found shining very bright in the evening skies post sunset. It will be at magnitude -3.9 during the month. As seen through a telescope, the phase will be shrinking from 88.5% to 80.8% illuminated, while the apparent disc diameter will be increasing from 11.5” to 13.0”.
Venus will be found 5.7° to the upper right of the thin (8% illuminated) crescent Moon on the evening of the 17th.


Is low in the south during the month rising at 01.38h on the 1st and by 00.23h on the 31st . It will increase in magnitude from -0.4 to -1.2 during the month as the planet draws nearer to Earth. As seen through a telescope, the disc size will grow from 11.1” to 15.1” . Due to the low altitude of the planet from northern skies, the image seen will be degraded somewhat as viewed in the telescope. Some surface details may however be seen now the disc size has grown above 10 arc seconds. The planet is better suited to southern hemisphere observers. The waning gibbous Moon passes 2.5° north of Mars on the morning of the 6th.


Is at opposition on the 9
th in the constellation Libra, shining at magnitude -2.5. On this date, Jupiter will be rising at sunset and setting at sunrise, so is visible all night long. The planet will be low down in the south, so will be affected by poor atmospheric seeing when viewed in a telescope. The near full Moon will be 3.7° upper left of Jupiter on the morning of the 28th.

As the moons orbit Jupiter, there are occasions when the shadow of the moons can be seen upon the surface of Jupiter and the moons can transit across Jupiter's disc. Also, the moons can be seen to be occulted or eclipsed by Jupiter. There are many events throughout the month. See periodicals such as the BAA Handbook, Astronomy Now and Sky at Night magazines for listings.

The Great Red Spot may be seen using a telescope in good seeing conditions. Using a light blue filter with an eyepiece will help. Opportunities to see the Great Red Spot from Mann occur on a regular basis. Click here. for suitable dates and times.

To help you identify the moons at any particular time, Sky and Telescope have a Java tool that will plot the moon positions. Click Here.


Is found low in the south in dawn skies. It resides in the constellation Sagittarius shining at magnitude +0.3 to +0.2. Like Jupiter and Mars, Saturn will be low down from our latitude and a view through a telescope will be degraded due to poor seeing conditions. The rings are well open towards the Earth at this time and will look great through the telescope.

The brightest moon of Saturn, Titan will be visible in telescopes, shining at magnitude +8.5 and will be east of the planet on 13th ,14th ,15th ,29th ,30th and 31st . It will be west of the planet on the 5th ,6th ,7th ,21st ,22nd and 23rd .


eta-Aquarids are active until the 20th with a maximum due on the 5-6 May. Zenithal Hourly Rate ( ZHR ) is 40 meteors per hour. Radiant is at RA 22h30m Dec. -01° These meteors originate from Halley's comet and enter the earth's atmosphere at 42 miles per second.

Alpha-Scorpids are active until the 19th May with a peak activity occurring on the 12th. ZHR is low at on 5 meteors per hour. Radiant is at RA 16h04m Dec. -24°

Ophiuchids are active during May with maximum due in June. The shower is however weak.

(Stars Brighter than Magnitude +6.0)

Date Time            ZC#    SAO#           Magnitude. P.A.  Type of event.    Notes

There are no suitable events this month.

For very detailed list of occultations visible this month, click here. (Data from Occult Software)

Times are UT as seen from IoMAS Observatory. Start to observe these events about 20 minutes before the above times to allow for differences in your latitude and longitude. This will give you time to locate the star that is about to be occulted.

ZC = Zodiacal Catalogue. Type of Event DD = disappearance at dark limb, RD = Reappearance at dark limb. RB = Reappearance on bright limb. PA = Position Angle around limb of the Moon, where 0 degrees is north, 90 degrees is east, 180 degrees is south and 270 degrees is west.
D* = Double Star T* = Triple Star

The above predictions were calculated from Occult software by David Herald. More information regarding this software may be found at the web site.


This star drops from magnitude +2.1 to +3.4 in about 5 hours. There are no suitable dates for observing this month. Click here for a star chart for Algol.


There are no predicted bright comets this month.

Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent Clouds may become visible towards the end of the month. These mysterious night time glowing clouds appear in the northern skies ans usually last between May to August. These clouds are very high at an altitude of around 90km. They are best seen around local midnight, looking due north. However, when a very active display is happening, they can be seen from sunset to sunrise.


The international Space Station crosses the Manx skies on a regular basis. For the latest information on when the ISS is due to pass across the sky over the next ten days, visit the link below.

ISS transit Information from Heavens

Bibliography for Manx Night Skies

The Handbook of the British Astronomical Association 2018. BAA. 2017
2018 Stargazing. Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest. Philip's 2017
2018 Guide to the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop & Wil Tirion. Collins 2017
Yearbook of Astronomy 2018. Brian Jones/Richard Pearson. Pen & Sword White Owl. 2017

Observer's Handbook Meteors. Neil Bone. Philip's 1993
Atlas of the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop. Collins. 2005
Constellations. Josef Klepešta and Antonin Rükl. Hamlyn. 1979
Brilliant Stars. Patrick Moore. The Book People Ltd. 1996
Complete Guide to Stargazing. Robin Scagell. Phillip's. 2006
Turn Left at Orion. Guy Consolmango and Dan M. Davis. Cambridge U.P. 2008
Norton's 2000.0 Edited Ian Ridpath. Longman Scientific & Technical. 1989

Planetary data derived from Guide 9 Software.
Picture graphics derived from Stellarium and Guide 9 Software.