Mid-May brings a rare opportunity to see all of the planets of the inner solar system in the evening sky. To see them you’ll need a clear, low WNW horizon.
Highest in the sky is Mars. Mars has been a fixture in the evening sky for several months, however it is growing dimmer as Earth is continually speeding ahead in our faster orbit. Mars is now on the far side of the sun and getting farther away with each passing day.
Next is elusive Mercury. As the closest planet it never gets very far from the sun. Mercury will only be easily visible during mid-month. It reaches its greatest separation from the sun on the 17th and then begins to step closer to the setting sun each evening.
Venus is closest to the horizon. It too is on the far side of the sun, but night by night it is slowly stepping away and getting brighter. By late summer, it’ll be our brilliant evening star.
Last, but not least, Earth. To see it you’ll just have to look down!!!
Some notable dates:
May 12 – Crescent moon passes near Venus
May 13 – Crescent moon just above Mercury
May 15 – Crescent moon just below Mars
May 17 – Mercury at greatest separation from the sun.
May 28 – Mercury and Venus in conjunction