Thursday January 4th the waning gibbous Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north relative to the ecliptic. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is actually the Earth’s orbit and the Moon’s orbit is inclined about 6o from the ecliptic. So there are two node intersections, the ascending and descending nodes.
On Thursday January 4th the 17-day old waning gibbous Moon will be within the boundaries of Leo the Lion and about 11o west from the ‘Heart’ of the Lion, the star Regulus.
While you are outside looking at the Moon turn toward the eastern horizon to see the planets Jupiter and Mars.
This animated graphic is set for 6 am CST (12 UT).
Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as many graphics show? From our perspective on the Earth the Moon appears to circle around the Earth. However, in reality, the Moon orbits the Sun together with the Earth*
Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”