Follow our Moon over the next several evenings as the Moon follows the ecliptic across the sky toward the east as it waxes through its gibbous phases toward full Moon on Thursday the 12th or Friday the 13th, depending on your local time zone. On some of the evenings the Moon passes by two planets, Mars, Saturn, and one bright star, Spica in Virgo the Maiden.
While the Moon does follow the ecliptic the Moon is neither always on the ecliptic nor is the Moon’s orbital path parallel with the ecliptic. This is because the Moon, like the other planets, have orbits that are inclined, tilted, from the ecliptic. Planets have respective inclinations that range from 0o for the Earth up to about 7o for Mercury. The Moon’s inclination from the ecliptic is nearly 6o. One result is that the Moon will, at sometime during each month, pass by any celestial object that is near to the ecliptic.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.