Constellations For May: Here’s What Is Visible and Bright

No matter whether you’re an amateur astronomer, student, or person with a curious mind, you may be wondering which constellations may be visible and bright come May?

Continue reading to discover more about which constellations are visible in May, how these constellations may appear, their myths, locations and more.

Constellations For May (Summary)

The constellations best visible in May are Centaurus, Coma Berenices, Canes Venatici, Corvus, Crux, Musca, and Virgo. Centaurus, Virgo, Corvus, Crux, and Musca are located south of the celestial equator, whereas Coma Berenices is located north. However, the best constellations to watch for in May include Virgo and Centaurus, which are the second and ninth biggest in the sky, respectively, while Crux is the smallest.

Centaurus the Centaur

Centaurus, the centaur, is a constellation in the southern hemisphere of the sky that may be seen in May in latitudes between 25 and -90 degrees. Centaurus is a vast constellation with a surface area of 1,060 square degrees, making it the ninth largest in the night sky.

The centaur, a half-man, half-horse monster from Greek mythology, is represented by this ancient constellation, which goes back to the Babylonians. It was identified as a centaur by the ancient Greeks; however, it is unclear whose centaur it symbolizes.

Many people believe the Centaurus might be Chiron, who was injured by Hercules inadvertently. Hercules revered Chiron by granting him a position in the constellations when he died. Under a dark sky, the constellation’s outline resembles a centaur’s. It is frequently shown as a centaur sacrificing an animal that is symbolized by the wolf constellation Lupus.

Coma Berenices or Berenice’s Hair

In the northern hemisphere, the constellation Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s hair, is visible in the spring and summer. It is, however, most visible in May in latitudes of 90 degrees to -70 degrees. Coma Berenices is a medium-sized constellation that takes over 386 degrees of sky, making it the 42nd largest of the 88 constellations visible in the night sky.

A second-century Greek astronomer, Ptolemy, thought Coma Berenices to be part of Leo’s constellation because it initially resembled the tuft at the end of the Lion’s tail.

Canes Venatici or Hunting Hounds

During the spring and summer months, the constellation Canes Venatici, or hunting hounds, is visible in the Northern Hemisphere. It is, however, most visible during the month of May in latitudes ranging from 90 to -40 degrees. Canes Venatici is a medium-sized constellation that occupies 465 square degrees of sky, ranking 38th in terms of size among the 88 constellations in the night sky.

In the second century, the Greek astronomer Ptolemy put Canes Venatici in the constellation Ursa Major. In Latin, the constellation’s name means “hunting dogs.” It depicts Boötes’ hunting dogs, Asterion and Chara, as he searches the night sky for the bears Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Corvus the Crow

Corvus, or the Crow, is a constellation in the sky’s southern hemisphere. Corvus is visible during the month of May in latitudes ranging from 60 to -90 degrees in the Northern Hemisphere. Corvus is a tiny constellation, comprising just 184 degrees and ranked 70th in size of the 88 constellations visible in the night sky.

Since two of the stars point to Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, the four brightest stars in this constellation form the Sail, or Spica’s Spanker.

Crux the Southern Cross

Crux, or the southern cross, is a constellation in the southern hemisphere of the sky that can only be seen from latitudes south of 27 degrees in May. The Crux is the smallest constellation in the night sky, having a total size of about 68 square degrees, and lies entirely below the horizon in most regions of the northern hemisphere.

The Crux is one of the southern hemisphere’s most well-known constellations. Due to its clear cross form and brilliant stars, it is a simple constellation to recognize.

The Crux was utilized by sailors as a navigational aid since the southern hemisphere lacks a brilliant star near its pole. They would use the stars in the cross to construct a line to establish the position of the south celestial pole, which is really in the constellation Ocatans.

Musca the Fly

Between February and April, the constellation Musca, or the fly, is visible in the southern hemisphere of the sky at latitudes south of 15 degrees. It is a little constellation with an extent of about 138 square degrees, ranking it 77th out of 88 constellations in the night sky in terms of size. Just south of the Southern Cross is where you’ll find the Musca.

Musca is not related with any mythology. It got its name from its shape, which is similar to that of a housefly.

Virgo 

The virgin constellation, Virgo, may be seen in the northern hemisphere in the spring and summer and in the southern hemisphere in the fall and winter. Virgo is a prominent constellation with a total size of 1,294 square degrees, making it the night sky’s second-largest constellation. It lies between Leo to the west and Libra to the east, and its brightest star, Spica, can be easily spotted.

Virgo is the sixth constellation of the zodiac. The September equinox has shifted to the Virgo constellation, which implies that the Sun will be in the Virgo constellation on that day. As a result, in mid-September, the Sun passes over Virgo, the constellation that heralds the arrival of the harvest.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Centaurus, Coma Berenices, Canes Venatici, Corvus, Crux, Musca, and Virgo are the most visible constellations in May. Coma Berenices is positioned north of the celestial equator, while Centaurus, Virgo, Corvus, Crux, and Musca are located south. Virgo and Centaurus are the second and ninth-largest constellations in the sky, respectively, while Crux is the smallest.

Whether you’re an amateur astronomer, a student, or just someone with a curious mind, don’t miss your chance to see constellations you would otherwise miss for the rest of the year this May.

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