There’s A Thin Moon Tonight

29 July 9:15 pm CDT

29 July 9:15 pm CDT

   Tuesday evening the 29th, the very thin 3.2 day old waxing crescent Moon will be above the western horizon just after sunset local time. How clearly you see the crescent Moon depends on what your local horizon looks like, as well the amount of haze and or low clouds on the horizon along the horizon.

   
   

Click on picture to see it full size.

Click on picture to see it full size.

   Clouds thinned out a little this evening and I was able to catch the waxing crescent Moon through some thin clouds.
Picture specs: Black & white; 250 mm lens; f/5.6; 1/320 sec.; ISO 1600.
   
   
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Venus Deserts the Desert

   So here I am nearly 7o further south and 16o further west with hopes of taking advantage of the clear and darker skies around the Tucson Arizona area. Unfortunately for me it is monsoon season and if the storms this morning and the mostly overcast skies are any indication of the weather to come then I am in trouble!! Nonetheless staying on the eastern side of the city allows me easy access to Mt. Lemmon or further east to dark sites around the Saguaro National Park. My plans include heading out before sunrise to try capturing Venus and maybe some of the stars in the northern hemisphere winter constellations now appearing over the eastern horizon before the Sun starts to brighten the sky.

5:30 am CDT

5:30 am CDT

   Throughout the next week Venus is visible but lower each morning as it moves east toward the Sun. This is easily seen by observing Venus at the same time of the morning. It helps to have something to use as a reference for the position of Venus above the Horizon – its altitude. So find something on your local horizon like a tree to use as a reference for how the altitude of Venus changes day by day.

5:30 am CDT

5:30 am CDT

   Venus is moving eastward toward the Sun at a daily rate that is faster then the apparent daily rate the Sun moves as the above animated graphic shows. While this animated graphic shows Venus above the horizon but then adds the orbital path for Venus and then the horizon is removed to show the Sun’s position relative to Venus.

   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

July Apogee Moon

28jul-apogee    Our Moon orbits around the Sun with the Earth and from our perspective on the Earth the Moon appears to circle around the Earth. However in reality the Moon orbits the Sun together with the Earth*.
   The nearly 2-day day old waxing crescent Moon reaches apogee this month on Sunday 27 July at 11 pm CDT (28 July at 4 UT). At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.87 Earth diameters (406,567 km or 252,629 miles) from the Earth. For those keeping track, this is the greatest apogee distance for this year.

   *Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Monday evening the very thin waxing crescent Moon will be setting near the star Regulus about 1 hour after local time for sunset. However given the Moon’s phase age and amount of disk (4%) reflecting sunlight it may be a challenge to see this evening.

   
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Latitude Adjustment

   I am in need of a latitude adjustment so I am heading south to Tucson Arizona for a week that includes family, darker skies, Mt. Lemmon, mountains, the desert, and night sky pictures – Milky Way, deep sky objects. For this I am exchanging midwest humidity and warm weather for considerably less humidity and but oh that heat!
   “Yeah but it’s a dry heat!”
   To which I like to reply with, “So is a pizza oven.”
   Nonetheless as the graphics below show I am also exchanging light polluted metropolitan skies for darker metropolitan skies with hopefully clear skies (at least at night) considering it is Monsoon Season there. And I am swapping colors – green for brown.

   Think about this (or not!!) When you look off toward the green horizon, where the blue ‘sky meets the ground’ did you ever wonder why these are the colors?
It’s to know where to stop mowing!!

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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Jupiter in Solar Conjunction

jup-conj-ani   Today at 4 pm CDT (21 UT) the planet Jupiter reaches conjunction with the sun, in effect behind the sun as we view the two from Earth. Jupiter will reappear later next month in the morning skies joining with Venus as two very bright morning ‘stars’.

   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Moon Near M-35 and Venus

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   On Thursday morning the 24th the very thin 27-day old waning crescent Moon rises near the planet Venus and the open star cluster M-35. This is the 3rd posting in about as many days that included the open star cluster M-35. But when celestial objects are near the ecliptic then the Moon and the 8 planets all have opportunities to interact with the near-ecliptic objects. This is the case for the open star cluster M-35, which has had the two inner planets Mercury and Venus, and now the Moon come within a few degrees.

24july-bino   As this graphic shows the Moon, Venus, and M-35 are all within a small enough space to fit within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars. The Moon may or may not be a challenge to see depending on your local horizon, nonetheless it will be a very thin crescent with between 5-6% of its disk still reflecting sunlight.

   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Sun Not in Leo Today

22july  According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Leo the Lion on Tuesday 22 July at 5 pm CDT (22 UT). When in fact the actual position of the Sun today is within the boundaries of the constellation of Cancer the Crab. The Sun is still close to the western boundary of Cancer having just crossed that boundary a couple of days ago.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.