Skip to main content

See the moon and Jupiter get cozy in May’s skywatching highlights

What's Up: May 2023 Skywatching Tips from NASA

NASA’s sky-watching update for May features some wonderful views of the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars.

Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter

First up, look out for Saturn rising with a half-full moon on the morning of May 13.

Several days later, on May 17, you can witness the beauty of a slim crescent moon rising about an hour before the sun comes up, and for folks in the U.S. and Canada, Jupiter will appear to be very close to our lunar neighbor.

Even more special, from locations in the southern U.S., Jupiter will pass behind the moon as both rise in the morning twilight, while from the western U.S., Jupiter will be obscured by the moon as the pair rise before coming into view as the sun comes up.

Be aware that this will take place quite low in the sky, so clear sight of the horizon is essential for a good view. A pair of binoculars will also be useful when the sky starts to brighten.

Moon, Venus, and Mars

After sunset on May 22 through 24, the moon, Venus, and Mars appear close together, with the moon seen between the two planets on May 23.

In its monthly notes, NASA says that Venus has been rising higher each evening for the past few months, explaining: “That begins to change in May, as the brilliant planet reaches its highest point in the western sky and starts trending lower as we move into June. It’ll disappear from evening skies by late July, reappearing in the eastern sky about a month later as a morning object.”

And if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, be sure to watch NASA’s video at the top of this page for some interesting information on how features in the sky appear a little differently than they do for folks in other parts of the world, for example, the moon’s phases fill up from left to right instead of right to left as they do in the north.

Finally, if you’re unsure about where to look for different planets and constellations, then be sure to try out one of these excellent astronomy apps.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Do look up: NASA’s skywatching tips for May
watch nasa moon announcement livestream total lunar eclipse gives january a blood

NASA is back with its monthly roundup up of celestial treats to spy in the sky. So let’s dive straight in.

What's Up: May 2022 Skywatching Tips from NASA
Starting on May 2, the space agency recommends looking west about 45 minutes after sunset to get a glimpse of Mercury, accompanied by a slim crescent moon.

Read more
NASA’s skywatching tips for February include a view of the Orion Nebula
A view of space.

February offers a last chance to spot Jupiter before it takes a break from the post-sunset sky, according to NASA’s top tips for skywatching this month. The coming weeks also offer an opportunity to witness a very bright Venus, and to view a star-forming cloud more than 1,000 light-years from Earth -- all visible with the naked eye.

What's Up: February 2022 Skywatching Tips from NASA
With Saturn and Venus recently disappearing from view, Jupiter is currently the only planet visible in the twilight skies. But toward the end of February, that’ll vanish, too. So catch it while you can.

Read more
NASA’s top skywatching tips for January include a meteor shower
how to photograph perseid meteor shower streak in the night sky

NASA focuses on four particular treats for folks peering skyward in January.

What's Up: January 2022 Skywatching Tips from NASA
Winter Circle
Kick-off 2022 by marveling at the stars of the Winter Circle (also known as the Winter Hexagon) as they shine brightly in the night sky.

Read more