August Perigee Moon at Ascending Node, and a Partial Solar Eclipse

   Friday August 10th the 28.5 day old waning crescent 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.

   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*

*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?”

Perigee Moon
   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit on Friday August 10th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.07 Earth diameters (358,100 km or 222,513 miles) from the Earth. The Moon will also be 28.5 days old, and only 15.8 hours from new Moon Phase.
    When the time of perigee is close to a node crossing there will be either a lunar or solar eclipse. In this case less then 24 hours after the node crossing there will be a partial solar eclipse. This solar eclipse is only visible from Arctic, Greenland and parts of Asia.

   
   
   

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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