A Well-Balanced Moon Near Saturn

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Sunday evening 3 August look for the first quarter Moon to be within a few degrees from the planet Saturn. The Moon is just above the balance or pivot-point of the Scales (Libra) with the two stars marking the pans, Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali nearby. Saturn with a 0.75 magnitude is between 2o – 3o from the Moon, while Zubenelgenubi with a 2.75 magnitude lies about 1o – 2o from the Moon. About 10o from the first quarter Moon is Zubeneschamali with a magnitude of 2.6.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   From my viewing location and many others around the world the Moon will be within a few degrees from Saturn on Sunday evening as the above graphic shows. And as both the Earth rotates and the Moon moves along its orbit, the two, from my viewing location, will stay within a few degrees from each other throughout the rest of the evening and night hours. They will have risen and set together.

saturn-moon-ani   How close they appear is a determined by latitude and longitude, so for some the two will appear closer then they appear for me. And if you are observing from the right location this will be an occultation of Saturn by the Moon as the Moon passes between Saturn and the Earth. That occultation, at around 11 UT on the 4th, will be visible from parts of southern India to Australia and some of the South Pacific islands.

   
   
   
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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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