Before the humans, came the stars…and odds are, they will still be illuminating the cosmos long after there are eyes to witness their burning. Essentially giant balls of plasma kept alive via thermonuclear fusion, stars have forever been watched with fascination by mankind from our humble earthly abodes.

From navigation to religious customs, the stars have altered and enhanced our daily lives since before we could even communicate with one another. The ancient Egyptians catalogued them; medieval Arabic astronomers gave most their current names.

Calendars and the keeping of time and seasons can be attributed to the stars, which the Greeks considered to be embedded and immovable within a sort of ‘heavenly sphere,’ along with the planets.

By 1838, we were measuring the precise distance of stars from ourselves. Now, we no longer have to be content with just looking at the stars; we can build and launch vessels to reach them…although our closest such space tech, Voyager One, still has 40,000 years left to go before reaching AC+79 3888 (as it is so romantically dubbed).

Many similarly awful star names exist, but this is avoidable. Naming a star has become a fascinating new way to fix this problem, using the International Star Registry. How would you like to have a celestial body officially named after you or a loved one in the Star Register? Don’t worry; there are plenty of stars out there just waiting for you!

This leads us to the question of Pluto!
Apologies to all of the Pluto-isn't-a-real-planet folks out there but researchers have found a way in which this ever-surprising world acts more planet-like than dwarf-like: how it interacts with the solar wind.

During New Horizons’ flyby through the Plutonian system in July 2015, the spacecraft’s Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument measured what happens when charged particles streaming out from the sun interact with Pluto’s atmosphere.

What was observed was a much less subtle comet-like interaction (as had been previously suspected) and more a hybrid comet/planet behavior, with the solar wind being deflected abruptly but relatively close to its upwind-facing surface.

New Pluto Pics Show Beautiful, Complex World

“This is a type of interaction we’ve never seen before anywhere in our solar system,” said David J. McComas, professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University and lead author of the study. “The results are astonishing.”

Surprisingly, Pluto is able to maintain a gravitational grasp on much of its thin atmosphere even as ions are being stripped away by the solar wind into a long tail (which, by the way, is also found on other planets like Earth.)

“These results speak to the power of exploration,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator. ”Once again we’ve gone to a new kind of place and found ourselves discovering entirely new kinds of expressions in nature.”

Video: What Did We Learn from That Pluto Flyby?

The findings were published on May 4, 2016 in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Space Physics.
When can you see all this amazing stuff?
May is already here and that means there's some very special things going on in space. So grab those telescopes and let's take a look at our guide to all things astronomy this May 2016.

May 6th ~ New Moon

Take advantage of a dark sky on May 6th as the New Moon is on the same side as the Earth and the Sun and therefore there will be no extra-light interference to observe those stars and planet.

May 5th & 6th ~ Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower.

The darkness of our New Moon sky is also coinciding with the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower (produced by dust left over from Halley’s comet). This shower is sure to put on a spectacular show in the Southern Hemisphere where up to 60 meteors per hour are predicted to show (the Northern Hemisphere will produce around 30 per hour). This meteor shower runs annually from April 19th to May 28th with it’s peak this year (2016) landing on the night of May 5th and the early morning of the 6th. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation of Aquarius, but should be able to be viewed all over the night sky.

May 9th ~ Rare Transit of Mercury Across the Sun

To view this next celestial event, you will need a telescope with an approved solar filter, but once you do, you’re in for quite a show. Mercury will move directly between the Earth and the Sun allowing folks to observe the dark disk of the planet Mercury moving across the face of the Sun. This is an extremely rare event that occurs only once every few years and it will not occur again until 2019; miss that one and you’re out-of-luck until 2039. The best place to view this event in its entirety will be the eastern United States and eastern South America; however, it can still be seen throughout North America, Mexico, Central America, South America, and parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

May 14th ~ International Astronomy Day

This annual celebration is intended to “provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals.” The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People,” so check out your local listings and clubs to see what they have planned for this special day. If you’re city isn’t planning much, get some friends and family together to make your own celebration!


May 21st ~ Full Moon, Flower Moon, Blue Moon and More

On this night we have a full moon; however, it is also known by many other names on this evening. Native American tribes know this moon as the Full Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. It is also referred to as the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon (for obvious reasons) and since this is the third of four full moons in this season, it is also called the Blue moon.

The Blue moon is a rarity since it only occurs once every few years, giving rise to the term, “once in a blue moon.” This is because there are normally only three full moons in each season of the year. But since full moons occur every 29.53 days, occasionally a season will contain four full moons. The extra full moon of the season is known as a blue moon and it happens on an average of once every 2.7 years.

May 22nd ~ Mars at Opposition

Take advantage of the Red planet’s closest approach to Earth on this day, as it’s face will be fully illuminated by the Sun, making it appear brighter than any other time of the year. Plus, it will also be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Mars which can be made possible with only a medium-sized telescope. This will allow you to see some of the dark details on the planet’s orange surface.

May isn’t only a time of spring flowers, warmer weather and sunshine, but we have a full calendar of celestial events to plan ahead for. Be sure to get out and experience what the night sky ha to offer. It’s not only educational, but it’s a rewarding and fun experience for the whole family.

Author's Bio: 

I am Rahul Raheja, Highly passionate writer, who loves creating an imaginary world with his writings.Business Development Consultant, Strategist,Blogger, Traveller, Motivational Writer & Speaker