Moon Ascends – Encounters Mars!

   The Title may be a little confusing or at least misleading but it allowed me to include two celestial events (actually 3) in one posting!

Moon Crossing the Ecliptic

Moon Crossing the Ecliptic

   Tomorrow at approximately 1:33 am CDT (6:33 UT) the 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 has with the ecliptic.
Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Also tomorrow the 17-day old Moon is at its waning gibbous phase and rises an hour or two before local time for midnight. Within a field of view of 7×50 binoculars the waning gibbous Moon, Mars, and the star Spica will fit – for this evening this month only, however. Next month, 15 April, the three will be close but the Moon will also be near mid-eclipse of a total lunar eclipse.

   Comet 2012 K1 PanSTAARS is now predicted to become binocular bright over the next couple of months. It is currently at around 10th magnitude near the stars of Corona Borealis the Northern Crown, and the alpha star in the Crown, Alphecca.

   Read another post about the nodes and eclipses and these relate to the plane of the ecliptic.

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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