This is another of those opportunities to see a thin crescent shape Moon, and in this case a Moon that is less than 20 hours from its new phase. With binoculars or a wide field eyepiece this view should be an interesting sight.
Thursday November 27th the innermost planet Mercury reaches superior conjunction – on the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth.
Mercury is not visible while in conjunction with the Sun but within the next week or so Mercury will reappear on the east side of the Sun and start becoming visible over the western horizon at sunset.
Wednesday evening October 26th the inner planet Venus will be within a few degrees from Saturn and the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion. All three will nearly fill the field of view in 10×50 binoculars as this graphic shows.
Wednesday October 26th the waning crescent Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north relative to the ecliptic. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is actually the Earth’s orbit and the Moon’s orbit is inclined about 6o from the ecliptic. So there are two node intersections, the ascending and descending nodes.
Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as many graphics show? 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*
Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”
Monday and Tuesday mornings October 24th and 25th the Moon in its waning crescent phases is nearly pawed by Leo the Lion as the Moon passes past the heart of the Lion, the star Regulus. This animated graphic shows the sky for the pre-dawn mornings of the 24th and 25th and the position of the Moon on either side of Regulus.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.
Very early Sunday morning October 23rd the 22-day old last quarter Moon will be a few degrees from the open star cluster M-44, or commonly known as the ‘Beehive Cluster‘. This should make for an interesting sight with binoculars despite the reflected light from the Moon.
If you are not a late night observer but like me an early morning observer then the Moon will still be close to M-44 before sunrise. However at that time look south-southeast and high above the horizon. To the right is Procyon in Canis Minor and above the Moon are the ‘Twins’ Pollux and Castor.
According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Scorpio the Scorpion on Saturday October 22nd. When in fact the actual position of the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation of Virgo the Maiden.