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Monthly Sky Watch

Our galaxy, the Milky Way. Credit: NASA

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Welcome to this month's Sky Watch, courtesy of The Old Farmer's Almanac. We'll tell you the best times to view celestial highlights, including conjunctions, meteor showers, and planets. 

Sky Watch May 2015

by Bob Berman, as featured in The 2015 Old Farmer's Almanac
(Note: Times listed below are ET.)

  • Mercury has its best evening star appearance of 2015 in the first half of the month, in Taurus. It stands left of the Pleiades on the 1st and is brightest for the first few days of the month.
  • Jupiter stands high in the southwest at dusk but sets before midnight. It stands above the waxing Moon on the 23rd.
  • The month belongs to Saturn, brighter than it has appeared in over a decade. It stands at opposition on the night of the 22nd, rising at dusk and remaining out all night long. Its rings are nearly as wide “open” as possible, a glorious sight through any telescope magnification above 30x.

Sky Map May 2015

Use our Sky Maps (Star Charts) to locate the stars, planets, and other objects in the sky. 

We offer printable sky maps, too, to help you know what you're seeing when you look up!

Click here for our MAY 2015 Sky Map!

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I live in Savoy, MA 01256. We

By Billie Bushika on May 13

I live in Savoy, MA 01256. We were just driving on Rt. 116 on our way home and saw a huge, bright WHITE ball of light cross the sky in front of us. It was moving extremely fasf. It seemed to be very low and and getting lower. It was moving from South to North. There was no tail. Just a huge white light. My son noticed that it seemed to lighting up all the trees it passed over.
Did anyone else see this??? Or does anyone know what this was???
I looked on many astronomy/meteor calendars and charts. I found no explanation for this.

I forgot to mention that it

By Billie Bushika on May 13

I forgot to mention that it seemed very close to us.

You were lucky enough to see

By Almanac Staff on May 18

You were lucky enough to see a type of meteor known as a "fireball." This particular fireball was seen by thousands of people from the East Coast to Pennsylvania and as far north as Quebec in Canada.

Meteors are also known as "shooting stars." Most of them are small bits of rocky material whose size is on the order of a grain of sand or a small pebble. When they enter the Earth's atmosphere, they burn up due to friction with the air. We see the result as a thin streak of light.

Fireballs occur when larger chunks of material enter the atmosphere, pieces that are perhaps a few feet in diameter.

Small space rocks are called meteoroids when they are in space. When they enter and burn up in Earth's atmosphere, they are called meteors. Any fragments that reach the ground are known as meteorites.

Jeff DeTray

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