Uranus at 2018 Opposition

view-from-uranus   Wednesday October 24th the outer planet Uranus reaches a position in its orbit around the Sun when it is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. This coincidentally is known as opposition, and it is an orbital position which only the planets further from the Sun than the Earth may reach.

   On Wednesday evening shortly after sunset local Uranus will be just above the eastern horizon a few degrees west from the full Moon. This graphic includes the ecliptic to show how the planets orbit the Sun within a few degrees from the ecliptic.
   
   
   
   
   
   

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Sun Not in Scorpius

  According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Scorpio the Scorpion on Tuesday October 23nd. When in fact the actual position of the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation of Virgo the Harvest Maiden.

   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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International Observe the Moon Night

   Saturday October 20th is International Observe the Moon Night. That evening the 12-day old waxing gibbous Moon rises around 5 pm local time and will be over the southeast horizon during the evening hours. Joining the Moon are several planets – all located to the west, right, from the Moon. Early, shortly after sunset the inner planet Mercury will be just above the western horizon. Moving east from Mercury is Jupiter, then Saturn, then Mars. The planet Neptune is only a few degrees above the Moon but because of the Moon’s reflected light Neptune will not be visible.

   
   
   

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 Passes Mars

   Over the next 2 evenings, Wednesday October 17th and Thursday the 18th the waxing gibbous Moon will be passing the planet Mars coming within about 2-3o from 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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October Moon at Apogee and at Descending Node

   Wednesday October 17th the 9-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be crossing 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.
   Also on the same day the waxing gibbous Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Wednesday October 17th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.69 Earth diameters, (251,175 miles (404,227 km), from the Earth.

   

   
   
   

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 Near Jupiter, Then Near Antares

   The next two evenings watch for the waxing crescent Moon to move past Jupiter on the 11th, then pass near the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion on the 12th.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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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October Moon at Ascending Node

   Thursday October 4th the 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.

   On the day of the node crossing the 26-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be about 1o from the open star cluster known as the ‘Beehive Cluster’, M-44. Given that the Moon has an apparent magnitude of 14.0 compared with the 4th magnitude of the Beehive Cluster it may be difficult to see the star cluster.

   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?”

   
   
   

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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