In May, there will be three interesting celestial events heralding the arrival of a 'New Nepal'. We have a meteor shower at the beginning of the month, Mercury will be gleaming bright in the evening sky, and the crescent moon will cross the red planet Mars.
In May, we see the sky moving into its summer phase. A couple of hours after sunset, the brilliant star Vega will be rising in the east, an event which signals the arrival of summer. The most prominent constellations from east to west will be Hercules, Bootes (with the bright star Archturus), Leo the Lion and Gemini the Twins. The great Saptarshi (Big Dipper) will be dominating the northern sky. If you are in a really dark location, you will also be able to see the fainter constellations of the northern sky, like Draco the Dragon, and the Little Dipper which contains Polaris the North Star. (See star chart.) Unfortunately the pre-monsoon sand haze from the desert has reduced visibility.
Among the planets, Mercury is a great sight this month. On 14 May, it reaches its greatest eastern elongation and will set an hour and a half after the Sun. If you have children, don't miss the chance to show them this elusive little planet with the help of binoculars. Look towards the western horizon about an hour after sunset.
Venus will be rising less than half an hour before sunrise but will be difficult to see this month. Mars moves from Gemini to Cancer and will dim slightly as it reaches aphelion - its greatest distance from the Sun - on 13 May. Jupiter, in Sagittarius, is high in the southern sky at dawn. You cannot mistake it for anything else. Saturn is sitting in the midst of Leo and is overhead after sunset.
On 10 May, the Moon passes very close to Mars and will be visible crossing the red planet at 8PM. Don't miss this great celestial spectacle. It's also best viewed with binoculars.
Celestial fireworks will entertain us in early May, when the Earth passes through the centre of a debris trail left by Haley's Comet (which last visited us in 1986). The Eta Aquarids meteor shower will begin in the last week of April and climax on 5 May with a peak rate of up to 30 meteors an hour. Look towards the constellation Aquarius in the eastern horizon at 3AM.