A Well Balanced Moon

Click on image to see full size

Click on image to see full size

   The first quarter Moon this evening lies nearly centered on the fulcrum for the constellation of Libra the Scales as the banner graphic at the top of the page shows. The image to the right shows a view toward the southwest about an hour after local sunset time. The planet Venus is low over the horizon and if you imagine an arc-shaped line curving upward toward the left, or east, along this arc is Spica, then Saturn, and then the first quarter Moon. The inset graphic shows the Moon within 1 degree of the third magnitude star Zubenelgenubi in Libra as would they would appear through 7×50 binoculars.
Click on image to see full size

Click on image to see full size

   With regard to the above written “arc-shaped line curving upward toward the left, or east” this arc-shaped imaginary line is in effect known as the ecliptic. The ecliptic in reality is the orbital path of the Earth around the Sun. However from our perspective we see the ecliptic as the apparent path the Sun follows against the stars in the background. It is the ecliptic that defines the constellations of the zodiac for example. Somewhere within a few degrees on either side of the ecliptic are where the 8 planets, Mercury – Neptune, are located as we view them from Earth. Our Moon also follows a monthly path that takes it above and below the ecliptic.
ecliptic.

   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

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