Venus in Conjunction with Spica

   Saturday evening September 1st look westward for the inner planet Venus to be within about 1.5o from the blue-white star Spica in the constellation Virgo the Harvest Maiden.

   The pair should prove to be an interesting sight with binoculars or a wide-field telescope eyepiece. Venus shines with an apparent magnitude of -4.4, while Spica has an apparent magnitude of about 1.0.

   
   
   
   
   
   

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


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No, No, No, Not Going to Happen!


   This graphic, without the added correction, cropped up again by way of a text message asking if the picture was correct. So I made the graphic below to show how the sky would look at the time and date indicated on the graphic.
   In reality all one has to do is go outside and look at the Moon and Mars to prove that this urban legend like any is not correct.

   
   
   The sky at 12:30 am CDT August 27th

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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


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August Moon at Descending Node


   Friday August 24th the waxing 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 13-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be over the southeastern horizon about an hour after the Sun sets. The planet Mars is about 15o to the west (right) from the Moon, and further west are the planets Saturn and Jupiter. Neptune is shown to the east from the Moon but with an apparent magnitude of almost 8 Neptune would only be visible with an optical aid.

   
   
   
   
   

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


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Sun Not Really in Virgo

   According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Virgo the Maiden on Thursday August 23rd. When in fact the actual position of the Sun is toward the west and still within the boundaries of the constellation of Leo the Lion.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   

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


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August Apogee Moon Near Mars

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Thursday August 23rd. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.81 Earth diameters (405,700 km or 252,090 miles) from the Earth.

   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as this graphic shows? 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*


   On the evening of Wednesday August 22nd and the evening of apogee, Thursday, the 16-day old waning gibbous Moon will be over the southeastern horizon and about 8o from Mars.

*Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)

Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”

   
   
   

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


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Waning Gibbous Moon Passes Saturn

   Over the next two evenings, Monday August 20th, and Tuesday the 21st, the waning gibbous Moon will pass within about 8-10o from the planet Saturn.
   Joining the Moon and Saturn are the planets Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Dwarf Planet Ceres.

   
   
   

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


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Moon Slips Past the Scorpion

   Over the next two evenings, Saturday August 18th, and Sunday the 19th, the waning gibbous Moon will pass within about 8-10o from the reddish star Antares, the ‘heart’ of Scorpius the Scorpion.
   Joining the Moon and Jupiter are the planets Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Dwarf Planet Ceres.

   
   
   

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


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Venus at Eastern Elongation

inner-planets-positions   Thursday August 16th Venus reaches the point in its orbit called greatest eastern elongation. As this graphic shows an inner planet, Venus or Mercury, is more or less at a right angle (90o) from the Sun and Earth at eastern elongation. From the surface of the Earth, your backyard, for example, Venus is to the left, or eastern side of the Sun and is setting after the Sun.

   At eastern elongation the angle between Venus and the Sun is at its greatest, which for this elongation Venus will be 45.9o from the Sun. In terms of viewing Venus, this is as about as late as Venus will set, about 4 hours after sunset local time, meaning for some Venus may set close to midnight local time. This animated graphic shows Venus at sunset, then with Venus’s orbit shown, and then with the horizon removed to see where the Sun is relative to Venus.

venus at eastern elongation   From eastern elongation forward Venus will be moving westward toward the Sun, and each day setting closer and closer to the time of sunset. By October Venus will have orbited to inferior conjunction – between the Earth and the Sun. During this part of the inner planet orbit, from eastern elongation to inferior conjunction, the distance from Earth decreases and the apparent size of Venus increases. Venus also goes through phase changes much like our Moon, and so from eastern elongation to inferior conjunction Venus wanes from a small appearing gibbous phase to an increasingly thinner crescent phase.
   
   
   
   

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


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Moon in Conjunction with Jupiter

   Over the next two evenings, Thursday August 16th, the waxing crescent Moon, and Friday the 17th, the first quarter Moon will pass within about 7-8o from the outer planet Jupiter. Jupiter with a -2.0 apparent magnitude, is about 0.5o from the 2.7 apparent magnitude star Zubenelgenubi in Libra the Scales.

   Joining the Moon and Jupiter are the planets Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Dwarf Planet Ceres.

   
   
   

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Waxing Crescent Moon Near Spica

   Wednesday evening August 15th the 4.5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 7o from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.
   In addition to the Moon are five planets spread out from west to east – Dwarf Planet Ceres, and the planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

   
   
   

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


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