November Perigee Moon #2

nov27perigee_moon    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 5.5 day old waxing crescent Moon reaches perigee this month on Thursday November 27th at 22:54 UT (4:54 pm CST). At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.99 Earth diameters (369,518 km or 229,608 miles) from the Earth.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Thursday evening the waxing crescent Moon sets about 4 hours after sunset local time.

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

   
   
   

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.

Neptune at East Quadrature

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Thursday November 27th the position of the planet Neptune with respect to the Earth and the Sun places this ringed planet at what is called eastern quadrature. Neptune is at a 90 degree angle from the Earth as this graphic shows. Think first quarter Moon as that is a fair comparison of the relative positions. At this position Neptune follows the Sun across the sky from east to west as the Earth is rotating, meaning that Neptune rises after the Sun and sets after the Sun.
28nov-bino   Where is Neptune now?The 8th planet from the Sun is currently within the constellation of Aquarius the Water Bearer and has recently completed its retrograde motion. Finding Neptune will be made a little easier as Neptune and the Moon will be a few degrees apart on the evening of the 28th. Despite the close proximity Neptune ‘shines’ at 8th magnitude compared to the -12th magnitude for the first quarter Moon. However after a couple of days and the Moon has moved further east leaving Neptune in relatively darker skies Neptune will be visible in binoculars.

   This is a short 1 minute clip of a video I made as part of a live musical performance called “Orbit” that I was part of in May 2011. This is a piece from the much longer tour of the solar system performance and video and shows Neptune and some of its moons as viewed from the Voyager 2 spacecraft.

   
   
   

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 Mars

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.


   Tuesday evening, November 25th the 3.5 day young waxing crescent Moon is 6-7o away from the planet Mars as this graphic shows.

   
   
   

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 Enters Scorpius

23nov-view-from-earth   Sunday November 23rd at 11 UT (5 am CST) the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Libra the Scales and into the constellation of Scorpius the Scorpion. This is the true or actual position of the Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which usually has the astrological Sun one constellation ahead or east from the Astronomical Sun’s position.

   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.

Sun Not In Sagittarius

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

  According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Sagittarius the Archer on Saturday November 22nd at 10 UT (4 am CST. When in fact the actual position of the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation of Libra the Scales.

   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.

November Moon at Ascending Node

nov19-ascending-node   On Wednesday November 19th our Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.

Note the ecliptic is the line with ‘Oct’ however that is a reference to when the Sun will be at that point along the ecliptic and not the date for this node crossing.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Look for the 26-day old waning crescent Moon to rise a few hours before sunrise near the bright bluish-white star Spica.

   
   
   

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.

Saturn at Solar Conjunction

18nov-view-from-earth   Tuesday 18 November at 9 UT (3 am CST) the planet Saturn will have reached the astronomical coordinates that officially place it at solar conjunction. From our perspective the planet is behind the Sun, or on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth.
   In reality it is not as much as Saturn moving behind the Sun as it is the Sun passing in front of Saturn – or so it seems. As a distant outer planet Saturn moves more slowly around the Sun than the Earth does. One year on Saturn is equal to 29.7 years (10,832 days) on Earth. So in one day Saturn would travel how much of the 360o orbit around the Sun? That would amount to approximately 0.033o each day.
saturn-sun-ani   The Sun, in its apparent motion along the ecliptic moves at the rate the Earth is moving which is 0.99o each day. So the Sun appears to zoom past Saturn while both are moving eastward. By the end of the year the Sun will have moved east of Saturn enough so that Saturn, now on the west side of the Sun, will rise before the Sun rises and be visible in the pre-dawn morning skies.
   
   
   

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.