Scruton Sky at Night – May 2021

After spending the winter months of 2020-21 as a ‘Morning Star’, Venus will emerge into the post-sunset western sky as an ‘Evening Star’ from April. It will be blazing at mag. -3.9 by May and even brighter in June/July as it gets closer to Mars. After a dazzling summer, it will sink earlier each month and by December it will slim to a crescent as Earth and Venus get close.

Just after sunset on 12/13 May, there will be a crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury low on the NW horizon. I like to watch for the thin crescent ‘young Moon’, and there is a sort of badge of honour among keen-eyed moongazers. On 12 May, there will be a challenge to spot a 1% lit crescent Moon in the post-sunset sky around 9pm, with the planet Venus just 1º above. An easier sight will occur 24 hours later when a 3.5% lit crescent Moon is visible just next to Mercury, and above Venus. However you’ll probably need binoculars to see this spectacle at its best.

Peter Williams