What’s in the Sky in May

Image: Looking East, 6th May 04:00hrs AEST


  • 6-7th Eta Aquarid Meteor shower peaks on the afternoon of the 6th at 13:00hrs AEST,  ~50 meteors /hour, travelling at 65.9km/sec.  This meteor shower is active from April 29th – May 28th and is visible as the Earth is passing through the debris left by Comet Halley as it orbits the Sun every 76 years. Start looking on the 6th from 4.00 am and come out again on the 7th same time, either side of the peak. Recent peak ZHRs were ~2008 -85, 2009-70, 2017-75, 2018-60, 2019-50, 2020-55 (preliminary), this might indicate rather a trend to lower ZHRs, but observations are needed to find out whether this is the case, or if the rates change in another way. The radiant (point from which they appear to come from) is just below and to the West of Jupiter. Rug up well with a thermos nearby to keep warm.
  • 12th Moon at Apogee, furthest from Earth for the month, 7:54hrs AEST, 406,509.8km.
  • 26th Moon at Perigee 11:49hrs AEST, 357,311.7 km. The Moon will be the closest for some time and if clear, a magnificent sight in the evening. A Total Eclipse of the Moon – Viewing at the Observatory will begin from 19:00hrs AEST.
  • Ballarat Local Time for Eclipse

    Penumbra entered 26 May 2021 18:47 AEST
    Umbra entered 26 May 2021 19:44 AEST
    Totality begins 26 May 2021 21:06 AEST
    Totality ends 26 May 2021 21:31 AEST
    Umbra left 26 May 2021 22:54 AEST
    Penumbra left 26 May 2021 23:51 AEST

What’s in the Sky in November


  • 6th Moon at Perigee 09:21 AEDT  Perigee distance 358843.4km
  • 8th Mars is an early morning object close to Mercury and is a very distant object Mag. 1.6  Dist. 383,731,208km. Tilt of North pole towards Earth is 18.8823 degrees.
  • 8th Saturn at mag. 0.6 rising 11:49hr AEDT, Dist. 1,500,835,194km. Tilt of Saturn’s North pole towards Earth is 19.2001 degrees.
  • 8th Jupiter is an evening objects during November rising at 13:06AEDT,  mag. -2.4, dist. 798,503.513km, tilt of North Pole towards Earth is 0.5206 degrees.
  • 8th 1 degree South of the Moon, Venus is a bright  evening object rising at 08:47hr AEDT, mag. -4.6, Dist. 88,244km. 44.14% illuminated.
  • 8th Mercury is an early morning object rising at 05:29hr AEDT just before the Sun. Mag. -0.41.5, dist. 137,593,293km. Tilt of North Pole towards earth is 0.3368degrees.
  • 9th Moon at it’s highest altitude 26 Degrees.
  • 17th Leonids Meteor shower peak is 20hr30m AEDT best visibility at predawn.

Leonids (LEO)Active: November 6—30; Z ~ 10; V∞ = 71 km/s.

The last perihelion passage of the Leonid’s parent comet, 55P/Temple-Tuttle, in 1998 is almost two decades ago now. With the knowledge of the dust ejection and trail evolution, variable activity has been modelled and observed in several years. The Leonids occur during a nearly Full Moon and so the shower will no be easy to view this year.  Credit:IMO. Radiant lower middle of image.

















Right: Engraving by Adolf Vollmy (1889)

This famous engraving of the 1833 Leonid meteor shower was produced for the Adventist book Bible Readings for the Home Circle by Adolf Vollmy. It’s based on a painting by Swiss artist Karl Jauslin, which, in turn, was based on a first-person account of the 1833 storm by a minister, Joseph Harvey Waggoner, who saw the 1833 shower on his way from Florida to New Orleans.

In that famous shower, hundreds of thousands of meteors per hour were seen! It was the first recorded meteor storm of modern times.


















  • 19th Partial (Almost Total) Eclipse of the Moon – Visible after sunset as it is moving out of eclipse.
  • 21st Moon at Apogee 13:16hr AEDT, Dist. 406,277.7km.


  • 27th Monocerotids Meteor Shower Peak in the evening.

Monocerotids (019 MON) Active: November 27–December 20; Maximum: December 9 ; ZHR = 3; V∞ = 42 km/s.

This minor shower’s details need further improvement by observational data. In most years,

visual data give a maximum ZHR = 3, while the general ZHR level is about 2.

December’s 4 day old Moon creates good conditions for either potential maximum timing, as the radiant area is available virtually all night for much of the globe. Credit IMO.  Radiant of shower below Betelgeuse.


What’s in the Sky in December


  • 4th Partial Eclipse of the Sun. Just a small arc of the Sun will be covered by the Moon at 20:10AEDT.

















  • 4th Moon at Perigee 21:06 AEDT  Perigee distance 356,793.718km
  • 4th Mars is an early morning object  Mag. 1.6  Dist. 369,833,839 km. Tilt of North pole towards Earth is 12.6106 degrees.
  • 4th Saturn at mag. 0.7 setting at 00:23 AEDT on the 5th, Dist. 1,560,519,261km. Tilt of Saturn’s North pole towards Earth is 18.5672 degrees.
  • 4th Jupiter is an evening object setting at 01:12AEDT on the 5th,  mag. -2.3, dist. 776,514,431km, tilt of North Pole towards Earth is 0.5685 degrees.
  • 4th Mercury is an evening object very close to the Sun.
  • 4th-17th  Geminids Meteor Shower  Maximum: December 14, 07h UT ( 18Hr AEDT);  ZHR = 150; Velocity = 35 km/s. The best and most reliable of the major annual showers presently observable reaches its broad maximum on December 14 centred at 07h UT. Well north of the equator, the radiant rises about sunset, reaching a usable elevation from the local evening hours onwards. In the southern hemisphere, the radiant appears only around local midnight or so. It culminates near 02h
    local time. Even from more southerly sites, this is a splendid stream of often bright, medium-speed meteors, a rewarding event
    for all observers, whatever method they employ.
    The peak has shown little variability in its timing in recent years, with the more reliably-reported maxima during the past two decades  all having occurred around 2021 December 13, 14h to December 14, 12h UT. The peak ZHRs have shown a slight increase over a longer period and reached 140{150 in all recent years. Usually, near-peak Geminid rates persist for several hours, so much of the world has the chance to enjoy something of the shower’s best. Mass-sorting within the stream means fainter meteors should be most abundant almost a day ahead of the visual maximum. The 2021 return occurs only four days before full Moon. Depending on the latitude, the moon sets around 02h local time and leaves about 3{5 hours for observations in a dark sky. Source: IMO
  • 18th Moon at Apogee 13:16hr AEDT, Dist. 406,316.3km.
  • 17th – 24th C/2021  A1 (Leonard) is due in our skies after sunset. All being well, it may even get a little brighter than currently predicted, we will soon find out.
  • 22nd South Solstice  (or Summer Solstice in Southern Hemisphere) 03:00AEDT.  The Sun is at it’s Southern most position, -23  26′ 07.39″


Finder maps for C/2021 A1 (Leonard) below