Moon Paws (Pauses) By Leo

   Over the course of 3 days, May 1st through the 3rd the 9 to 11-day old waxing gibbous Moon will traverse the constellation Leo the Lion. On the evening of May 1st the 9-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be a few degrees from the heart of the Lion, the star Regulus. This star is at the bottom of the backward question-mark pattern forming the head of the Lion.
   Two days later, on the evening of May 3rd, the 11-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be a few degrees from the tail of the Lion, the star Denebola. This star is the eastern point of a triangle pattern with two stars further to the west, right, from Denebola.

   Here is an interesting article by John Heasley, “Living on Lunar Time.” Follow his suggestions for keeping track of our Moon as it phases through the month of May. (Article is on Facebook)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
                                                  Follow the Moon for 3 Days

   
   
   
   
   
   

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A Starlink Satellite Swarm

   Growing up during the 1960s I often spent many evenings outside with my father watching for satellites to pass over where we lived. I learned how to differentiate between an airplane and a satellite by watching the object as it approached the horizon. An airplane lights may be followed all the way to the horizon while the reflected sunlight from a satellite appears and disappears above the horizon as the satellite moves out of and then back into the Earth’s shadow. This was the early days of satellite technology and the time of communication satellites like Telstar, as well as satellites we presumed were Russian spy satellites.
      In today’s world satellites and space exploration have lost some of the public awareness and popularity. However there are many easy to see satellites including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, a variety of communication satellites, and most recently the Starlink Satellites.
   The Starlink is a satellite built by SpaceX for the intention of providing satellite Internet access. Initially the focus will be on satellites providing Internet connection for much of North America but with the eventual launching of around 12,000 satellites the entire globe may have satellite Internet access.
   Currently the Starlink satellites appear in groups of 50 or so and look like a string of bright pearls stretched across the sky. Watch the video below of the Starlink Satellites passing over England.
   The Starlink Satellites move rapidly compared to the ISS and the group last night, in my pictures, were around 2nd magnitude or brighter. The group moved out the northwest past the Big Dipper and Arcturus toward the southeast. The satellites appear as streaks of light because the pictures were time exposures lasting 5 or 6 seconds each.

Use the Heavens Above web site for maps and times for viewing the ISS, Starlink and other satellites.
Use the NASA ISS Sightings web site for specific viewing times and directions for your location.
Use this web site, What the Astronauts See Right Now, for a simulated view from the ISS looking down at the Earth’s surface it is orbiting over.

   
   
   

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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April Moon at Ascending Node

   Monday April 27th the 5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. 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.

   While the waxing crescent Moon is at its ascending node further to the west, lower than the Moon, is the planet Venus.
  

   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)

   
   

   

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 – Venus Conjunction

click on graphic to see it larger   Sunday evening April 26th, at sunset, look toward the western horizon for the 4-day old waxing crescent Moon to be about 7o from the inner planet Venus.

   The combination of the waxing crescent Moon with the brightly shining Venus will make for a good view through binoculars, albeit somewhat bright. And while you are using binoculars aim a bit lower for a look at the two open star clusters within Taurus the Bull: the v-shaped Hyades, and the tiny dipper-shaped Pleiades.
   
   
   

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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Crescent Moon and the Hyades

   Saturday evening April 25th, at around sunset, the 3-day old waxing crescent Moon will be 1-2o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran is the brightest star in Taurus and also the brightest star of the v-shaped open star cluster the Hyades.

   The combination of the waxing crescent Moon with the stars of the Pleiades will make for a good view through binoculars.

   
   
   

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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Earth Day – 2020

   It is the annual Earth Day this year on Wednesday April 22nd.
   What exactly is Earth Day?

“It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.”(https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/)


   The theme for Earth Day 2020 is Climate Action
   
   Download the 2019 edition of NASA’s photo book, Earth (PDF).
 
Go to NASA’s Earth Day Toolkit web site for ideas and activities for parents and educators (which by the way, are one and the same. “Parents are Teachers!”


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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.


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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

Saturn at Western Quadrature – 2020

saturn-west-quadrature   Tuesday April 21st, the position of the planet Saturn with respect to the Earth and the Sun places this ringed planet at what is called western quadrature. Saturn is at a 90 degree angle from us as this graphic shows. Think third quarter Moon as that is a fair comparison of the relative positions. At this position Saturn leads the Sun across the sky from east to west as the Earth is rotating, meaning that Saturn rises before the Sun and also sets before the Sun.

Saturn currently is within the constellation of Sagittarius the Archer as this graphic shows. From the northern hemisphere, looking toward the southern horizon, you can find Saturn over the southeastern horizon about midway between Mars to the east, left, and Jupiter to the west, right.

Learn a little (or a lot) about Saturn by visiting the Cassini at Saturn mission web site.
Click here to go to the Cassini Mission web site.

   This is a short 5 minute video I made as part of a live musical performance called “Orbit”. This is a piece from the much longer tour of the solar system performance and video and shows Saturn and some of its moons as viewed from the Cassini spacecraft that month.

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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.

An ‘Old’ April Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), for this orbit, on Monday April 20th. At that time the new Moon will be at a distance of 31.86 Earth diameters 252,563 miles (406,641 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the apogee Moon the 27.2-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be rising about 1 hour before the Sun rises and if spotted could become a personal record for seeing an ‘old’ Moon.

   While out looking for the Moon there are several planets arranged across the southern and southeastern horizon. They are arranged west to east (or east to west) along the ecliptic, the Earth’s orbital path around the Sun, as the two graphics below are showing.

   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*

   *Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit” in NSTA’s Science Scope Magazine.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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Sun Not In Taurus – 2020

April 19th  According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Taurus the Bull on Sunday April 19th. When in fact the actual position of the Sun on the 19th is within the boundary of the constellation of Aries the Ram, as this graphic shows. Actually the Sun had just entered Aries the day before on April 18th.

   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.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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Sun Enters Aires – 2020

April 19th   Saturday April 18th the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Pisces the Fishes and into the constellation of Aries the Ram. This is the true or actual position of the Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which usually has the astrological Sun one constellation ahead or east from the Astronomical Sun’s position.
   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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