April Apogee Moon

1apr-apogee   The Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), this month on Wednesday April 1st at 13 UT (8 am CST). At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.83 Earth diameters (406,012 km or 252,284 miles) from the Earth.
   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as this graphic shows? 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*
*Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)

   The 12.5-day old waxing gibbous Moon rises about 1-2 hours before sunset local time and will be visible all night, setting at around the local time for sunrise.

   
   
   

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.

Passing the Baton? No, Passing the Moon! (part 3)

   Over the next few evenings (March 31th to April 1st) if you watch the Moon at about the same time you will see the Moon wax, or increase in phase toward the full Moon phase on April 4th and a total lunar eclipse. Additionally think in terms of the constellations in the background and it may not be difficult to imagine the Moon as a ball being passed eastward from one constellation to the next. Sort of a from “hand to claw to paw”.
31mar-leo_moon   Hey! If you can imagine the stars looking like the mythological characters they represent how difficult is it to imagine those characters playing pass the ‘ball’?

March 27,28,29,30,31, April 1

March 27,28,29,30,31, April 1


   
   
   So, starting on March 27th with the Gemini Twins, Pollux passed the Moon to Cancer the Crab on the 29th, who in turn will claw it toward the paws of Leo the following day.
   Along the way the Moon will pass Jupiter and then Regulus (31st), the heart of the Lion.

   
   
   
   

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.

Passing the Baton? No, Passing the Moon! (part 2)

   Over the next few evenings (March 29th to April 1st) if you watch the Moon at about the same time you will see the Moon wax, or increase in phase toward the full Moon phase on April 4th and a total lunar eclipse. Additionally think in terms of the constellations in the background and it may not be difficult to imagine the Moon as a ball being passed eastward from one constellation to the next. Sort of a from “hand to claw to paw”.
mar29-crab_moon   Hey! If you can imagine the stars looking like the mythological characters they represent how difficult is it to imagine those characters playing pass the ‘ball’?

March 27,28,29,30, April 1

March 27,28,29,30, April 1


   
   
   
   So, starting on March 27th with the Gemini Twins, Pollux passed the Moon to Cancer the Crab on the 29th, who in turn will claw it toward the paws of Leo the following day. Along the way the Moon will pass Jupiter (29th-30th) and then Regulus (31st), the heart of the Lion.

   Stay tuned – It’s on to the Lion soon!
   
   
   
   

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.

Passing the Baton? No, Passing the Moon! (part 1)

   Over the next few evenings (March 27th to April 1st) if you watch the Moon at about the same time you will see the Moon wax, or increase in phase toward the full Moon phase on April 4th and a total lunar eclipse. Additionally think in terms of the constellations in the background and it may not be difficult to imagine the Moon as a ball being passed eastward from one constellation to the next.
   Hey! If you can imagine the stars looking like the mythological characters they represent how difficult is it to imagine those characters playing ‘pass the ball’?

   So, starting with the Gemini Twins Pollux passes the Moon to Cancer the Crab, who in turn claws it toward the paws of Leo. Along the way the Moon pass Jupiter and then Regulus, the heart of the Lion.

Stay tuned – It’s on the Crab soon!


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.

Get the Point?

point   Thursday evening March 26th the first quarter Moon lies in the region of the sky off Orion’s right shoulder, the reddish star Betelgeuse. This puts the Moon between the small constellation of Canis Minor with it’s alpha star Procyon, and the brightest night time star, Sirius (no joking!!), in Canis Major.

   But more to the point the Moon looks as if it were about to be stabbed by the Monoceros’s single horn. That’s right, from Greek mythology Monoceros is actually a unicorn. Monoceros translated from Greek means unicorn. As a constellation this one ranks among the dimmest as only a few of the stars of Monoceros are brighter than 4th magnitude. Alpha Monocerotis, for example, is the brightest star in this constellation and only has a magnitude of 3.73. With most of Monoceros’s stars being no brighter this constellation is for the most part invisible for those living within light polluted areas.

   
   
   
   

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.

Batter Up!!

   Wednesday March 25th the 5.5 day old waxing crescent Moon is in the region of the sky between the horns of Taurus the Bull and the upraised club over Orion’s head, in Orion’s hand. This is a familiar part of the sky to many as within the sky around the Moon’s location include more of the brightest stars (1st magnitude or brighter) than any other part of the sky or other season.

   However this is spring time (in the northern hemisphere) and spring time is synonymous with Baseball. So at times like Wednesday evening I like to think of Orion as one of the Kansas City Royals (choose your favorite) about to hit a grand slam.


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.

In Your Face, Taurus!

24mar-bino   Tuesday March 24th the waxing crescent Moon will be right in the face of Taurus the Bull and will be within about 3o from the ‘red angry eye’ – the red giant star Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran is the upper left part of the v-shaped face of Taurus, however it is not one of the many stars making up the open star cluster known as the Hyades. Aldebaran (65 light years) is closer than the Hyades (153 light years) and viewed toward the same direction as the Hyades thus appearing brighter, and as part of the star cluster..

   Look for the Moon and Taurus to be over the southwestern horizon at sunset local time.


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.