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What's in the Sky May 2020 Astronomy Events

What's in the Sky May 2020 Astronomy Events

May is an active month with lots of astronomy events happening in the night sky! Galaxy season transitions to include the start of the Milky Way season with earlier viewing times.There are countless galaxies at a prime alignment for observing or imaging, giving you the perfect opportunity to look up in May!

If you’re looking for some Milky Way gear, take a look at our list put together by OPT experts for your success!Read on to learn more about what’s in the sky for May 2020 and download the FREE calendars. Clear skies!


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May 5  - Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower 

The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower can produce up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. This makes it an above average display of meteors. The Southern Hemisphere will see the most activity. Activity lessens to about 30 meteors per hour for the Northern Hemisphere.  Even though there will be a full Moon, you can still look up to catch some of the meteors. 

May 7 - Full Moon, Supermoon

The fourth and last supermoon of 2020 was known by early Native American tribes as the Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. This moon has also been known as the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. 

May 22 - New Moon

A new Moon happens when the Moon is located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun. This is the best time of the month for viewing or imaging. Plan on viewing galaxies and star clusters!

Are you a beginner interested in deep space images? We’ve compiled a list of deep space objects to look for! 

If you're posting your images on social media, make sure to use the hashtag #OPTeam for a chance to be featured on our Instagram page!

Northern Hemisphere

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Canes Venatici

  • The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51).
  • Sunflower Galaxy (M63).
  • Cat’s Eye Galaxy (M94).
  • The spiral galaxy Messier 106.
  • Messier 3, a and the bright, large globular cluster.
  • Whale Galaxy (NGC 4631).
  • The Hockey Stick Galaxies (NGC 4656 and NGC 4657).
  • The Cocoon Galaxy (NGC 4490), and more!

Coma Berenices

  • The Black Eye Galaxy (M64), is a spiral galaxy known for its bright nucleus surrounded by a dark band of dust. It is also known as the Sleeping Beauty or Evil Eye galaxy.
  • Messier 53.
  • The Virgo Cluster members: Messier 85, Messier 88, Messier 91, Messier 98, Messier 99 (Coma Pinwheel), and the grand design spiral galaxy Messier 100.
  • Coma Star Cluster, a large open star cluster.
  • The Needle Galaxy (NGC 4565), the famous edge-on spiral galaxy.
  • Spiral galaxies NGC 4314, NGC 4414 and NGC 4651, orthe Umbrella Galaxy.

Southern Hemisphere

What's in the Sky May 2020 Astronomy Events


Centaurus contains a couple of open clusters visible to the naked eye in good conditions.

  • NGC 3766.
  • NGC 5460.
  • The Blue Planetary nebula (NGC 3918), also known as the Southerner, is the brightest planetary nebula in this region of the sky. 


  • The famous Sombrero Galaxy (M104), an unbarred spiral galaxy located near the border with Corvus. It is the only galaxy not part of the Virgo Cluster.
  • The Virgo Cluster: Messier 49, Messier 58, Messier 59, Messier 60, Messier 61, Messier 84, Messier 86, Messier 87, Messier 89, and Messier 90.
  • Messier 87, also known as Virgo A, is the largest galaxy in the cluster
  • Messier 49, the brightest member of the Virgo Cluster is the elliptical galaxy.
  • Messier 84 and Messier 86 are part of Markarian’s Chain, a majestic stretch of galaxies near the center of the cluster.
  • the Eyes Galaxies, a famous interacting pair catalogued as NGC 4438 and NGC 4435.


Musca, the Fly, is among the smallest constellations.

  • The Engraved Hourglass Nebula (MyCn 18), a young planetary nebula given its name for its shape.
  • The Spiral Planetary Nebula (NGC 5189), its S-shape resembles a spiral galaxy in a telescope.
  • The globular clusters NGC 4833 and NGC 4372.
  • The Dark Doodad Nebula, a dark nebula stretching across into the vicinity of NGC 4372, which is just south of the better known Coalsack Nebula.

Curious what astronomy events are happening the rest of 2020? Check out our astronomy events calendar! If you're looking to get started, check out our guide to astrophotography!

Click here to see April astronomy events or click here to see June astronomy events. 

Clear skies! 🔭✨

1 Response


May 01, 2020

Make your “What’s in the sky” list in a printable version. I like how you have the constellation listed and what all is within the constellation.

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