Moon Descends on Neptune

   Saturday July 23rd the waning gibbous Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.
   On the day of the node crossing the 19-day old waning gibbous Moon rises around midnight local time and is over the southwest horizon at sunrise. The Moon will be close to the the outermost planet Neptune, an event that happens regularly throughout the year due to Neptune’s proximity to the ecliptic and the Moon’s orbit which keeps it near or crossing the ecliptic. Neptune at 8th magnitude will be outshone by the much brighter reflected sunlight from the Moon at nearly -13th magnitude. Between the Moon and Neptune is the 3rd magnitude star Lambda Aquarii in the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer.


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to go to bobs-spaces.

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