May 2023: What to see in the UAE Night Sky

Al Sadeem Observatory, 2023, UAE, Abu Dhabi

To help you with your stargazing this May, we’ve prepared a list of the objects you may find in the night sky when you visit Al Sadeem Observatory, including a penumbral lunar eclipse and a light meteor shower.

We offer a guided Observatory tour and night sky observation via traditional telescopes and automated observation stations, like Vaonis‘ Vespera. Al Sadeem Astronomy is the only distributor of this smart telescope here in the Middle East. You can place an order or inquiry here.


Observable Objects – May 2023

In May, Al Sadeem Observatory opens its doors to booked guests at 7:30 P.M. and wraps up the experience by 9:30 P.M. Here are the celestial objects that can be observed during the visit:

Conventional Telescope observations

  1. Planet Venus 
  2. Planet Mars
  3. Moon
    • Full Moon – 05th May 2023
    • Last quarter – 12th May 2023
    • New Moon – 19th May 2023
    • First Quarter – 27th May 2023


Smart Telescope Observations (Vespera, Stellina)

  1. Beehive Star Cluster: Also known as M44, the Beehive cluster is a group of stars that can be seen with the naked eye. Visitors can observe this beautiful cluster and learn about its history and significance to our quest in getting to know our Universe.
  2. Centaurus A Galaxy: This peculiar galaxy is located about 12 million light-years away and is known for its distinctive dust lane. Visitors can observe its unique features and learn about the research being conducted on this galaxy.
  3. Omega Centauri Globular Cluster: Located in the constellation of Centaurus, Omega Centauri is one of the largest and brightest globular clusters in the Milky Way. Visitors can observe this stunning cluster and learn about its formation and properties.
  4. Rose cluster (M5): Also known as NGC 5904, the Rose cluster is a beautiful Globular cluster found in the Serpens constellation in the northern sky.
  5. Virgo Cluster Pinwheel (M99): This beautiful galaxy is located about 25 million light-years away and is known for its striking spiral arms. 
  6. Owl Nebula (M97): This deepsky object is located in the constellation of Ursa Major. Visitors can observe its intricate structure and learn about the unique characteristics of planetary nebulae.
  7. Whirlpool Galaxy (M51): Known for its prominent spiral arms, this stunning galaxy located about 23 million light-years away was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy.
  8. Leo Triplet: This group of galaxies is located in the constellation of Leo and includes three interacting galaxies. 
  9. M3 Globular Cluster: M3 globular clusters are located in the constellation of Canes Venatici. Visitors can observe this stellar compact object using the smart telescope. 
  10. M53 Globular Cluster: M3 globular clusters are located in the constellation of Coma Berenices at 59 thousand light-years away. 



Sky Events to Note this Month

  1. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – 05th May 2023 

On May 5th, 2023, skywatchers around the world will have the opportunity to witness a penumbral lunar eclipse. This type of eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s outer part of shadow, which is called a penumbra.

During a penumbral lunar eclipse, the Moon will not appear completely darkened, but instead will take on a slightly darker, reddish hue. This is because the Moon is still receiving some sunlight that is being refracted or bent through the Earth’s atmosphere, which causes the reddish tint.

In the UAE, the eclipse will begin at 07.15 P.M. and end at 11.32 P.M. This shading effect will gradually become more apparent as the eclipse progresses, reaching its peak at around 09.24 PM GST.

The best way to observe a penumbral lunar eclipse is to find a dark, clear viewing location with an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon. It is not necessary to use special equipment to view this type of eclipse, but a pair of binoculars or a small telescope may enhance the viewing experience and make the shading effect more noticeable.

  1. The η-Aquariid meteor shower – 06th May 2023

η-Aquariid meteor shower occurs annually between late April and mid-May, peaking around May 5th or 6th. It is associated with Halley’s comet, and the meteors originate from the debris left behind by this icy rock. The shower is known for producing fast and bright meteors, with an average of 40 meteors per hour visible from dark locations.

  1. Moon – Venus Conjunction – 23rd May 2023 & Moon – Mars Conjunction – 24th May 2023

A Moon-Venus conjunction occurs when the Moon and Venus appear close to each other in the night sky. It is a beautiful sight to behold, with the bright planet Venus shining in close proximity to the Moon on 23rd May 2023. 

Another conjunction to look out for is the Moon-Mars conjunction on 24th May 2023, creating a striking contrast between the red planet and the white-gray surface of the Moon. These events are relatively common and can be observed with the naked eye or a basic telescope.


Sunrise and Sunset

Date Sunrise Sunset
01 May 2023 5:45 A.M. 6.51 P.M.
31 May 2023 5:31 A.M. 7.06 P.M.