How to Stargaze in May (Southern Latitudes)

May in the southern latitudes brings a number of excellent stargazing opportunities as you'll learn from the suggestions here. Be sure to dress warmly the further south from the equator you are, as the nights are getting cold at this time of year!


  1. Image titled Stargaze in May (Southern Latitudes) Step 1
    Look for the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. This will be at its peak around 5-6 May. See How to find the Eta Aquarid meteor shower for more details.
  2. Image titled Stargaze in May (Southern Latitudes) Step 2
    Check out the Milky Way. During May, it rises high in the south during May. The dark nebula called the Coalsack is evident during May.
    • Look at open clusters in Carina.
  3. Image titled Stargaze in May (Southern Latitudes) Step 3
    Look east. The constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius will be in the east, giving you a clear signal that winter is on its way for the southern latitudes.
  4. Image titled Stargaze in May (Southern Latitudes) Step 4
    Check out the Crux (Southern Cross) constellation. This is sitting high in the southern sky. Using a telescope, look for Acrux, Alpha Crucis, the brightest star consisting of two blue white stars (it's a double star).
  5. Image titled Stargaze in May (Southern Latitudes) Step 5
    Look for star clusters. There are a number of good ones to look for in May:
    • Look for the globular cluster NGC 5139, Omega Centauri. It can be seen with the naked eye but if you have a telescope, you'll see the millions of stars it contains.
    • Look north for the globular clusters M10 and M12. Use a small telescope.
    • Look south for NGC 3532. This can be seen with the naked eye but if you use binoculars you'll see more stars.
    • Using a small telescope, look south for cluster NGC 3114.
    • Using binoculars, look south for open cluster NGC 2516. This will be similar in size to the full moon as seen in the sky.
    • Looking north, and using a small telescope, look for NGC 6633
    • Look at the M83, a spiral galaxy located in the constellation Hydra. You need a large-aperture telescope for this though.
    • Look north for open cluster IC 4665 near the star Cebalrai or Beta Ophiuchi. This can be seen with binoculars.
  6. Image titled 1360613 6
    Look for Alpha and Beta Centauri near the Crux constellation.


  • See How to stargaze the relaxed way for more tips on keeping warm and comfortable while stargazing.
  • If you don't have one already, get hold of a good star map/chart to guide your viewing.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm clothing
  • Telescope/binoculars
  • Comfortable reclining seat or blanket
  • Star chart/map
  • Logbook to record your sightings
  • Camera and tripod if you're into astrophotography

Sources and Citations

  • Will Gater and Charles Sparrow, The Night Sky Month by Month, pp. 52-55, (2011), ISBN 978-1-4053-6174-3 – research source.

Article Info

Categories: Astronomy