12 Hours With the Moon

12 hours with the Moon.

12 hours with the Moon.

   Yesterday I posted a description of the waning gibbous Moon passing by Mars and Spica. Tomorrow morning, Friday the 21st, The 21 day old waning gibbous Moon will come within 0.32o from the planet Saturn. This close conjunction occurs at 22 UT and depending on your longitude/time zone you may only see the Moon close to Saturn, as I will, but not the closest at 0.32o. Each frame of this animated graphic shows the Moon and Saturn from 5 am CST to 5 pm CST at 1-hour intervals. I have switched off daylight and the horizon so the motion of the Moon as it orbits to the east and rising into the morning skies toward the west may be observed without their interference.
Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   At my location in the U.S. central time zone 22 UT is 5 pm CST, and the waning gibbous Moon will have already set by then. And the waning gibbous Moon at this late phase rises before sunrise and is always visible in the morning and daytime skies. So my view of the Moon and Saturn will be before sunrise when the two are approaching the minimum separation. Close but no cigar as the saying goes.

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.

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