2019-Sun Enters Ophiuchus

ophiuchus   Saturday, November 30th the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion and into the constellation of Ophiuchus the Healer. 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.

ophiuchus-scorpion   Ophiuchus is the 13th constellation of the zodiac (Astronomical) but does not appear in the astrological zodiac nor in the astrology column found in many newspapers. A constellation of either zodiac is defined the same way, using the ecliptic path. If the ecliptic passes through a constellation boundary then that constellation is a zodiac constellation. In the graphics I use the ecliptic path clearly crosses across the boundary for the constellation Ophiuchus the Healer.

   Ophiuchus is described in a mythology story as a healer. In one story following a mortal fight between Orion and Scorpius the Scorpion Ophiuchus kills the scorpion by stepping on it; extracts the venom from the scorpion; and then uses it to bring Orion back to life.
cadeuces   In Ophiuchus’s hands he is holding a long snake, the 2-part constellation of Serpens – Serpens Cauda (tail of the snake) and Serpens Caput (head of the snake). There are many stories about Ophiuchus and the snake including one where this is the origin of the symbol for medicine, the caduceus. However the caduceus is used primarily in the United States as the symbol for medicine, and is depicted as 2 snakes wrapped around a staff with wings. rodIf there is a connection with a medical symbol then it should be with the Rod of Asclepius, a staff with one snake.
   
   
   

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Mercury at Inferior Conjunction – Transits the Sun

   Are you ready for the Solar Transit Monday morning November 11th? This celestial event will be visible across the entire continental U.S.A., and your longitude/location will determine when and how much of the transit you will be able to see. Weather cooperating of course!

   
   
   

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Sun Not in Scorpius – 2019

  According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Scorpio the Scorpion on Wednesday October 23rd. When in fact the actual position of the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation of Virgo the Harvest Maiden.
   Before the Sun rises on Wednesday morning watch for the 24-day old waning crescent Moon to be 4-5o from the ‘heart’ of Leo the lion, the star Regulus.

   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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September Moon at Ascending Node

   Monday September 23rd the 25-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.

   On the day of the node crossing the waning crescent Moon will be about 8-9o from Pollux, one of the two ‘Twin’ stars of Gemini.

   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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September Apogee Moon

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), for this orbit, on Friday August 13th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 31.85 Earth diameters 252,511 miles (406,378 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the apogee Moon the 14-day old full Moon rises around sunset local time and is above the horizon the remainder of the night hours, setting at around sunrise the following morning.

   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”. (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 go to bobs-spaces.


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August Moon at Perigee #2

   Our Moon reaches its second perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit, on Friday August 30th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.175 Earth diameters, 221,939 miles (357,177 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the perigee Moon the 0.5-day old very thin waxing crescent Moon will be over the western horizon setting about less than 1 hour after the Sun sets. As this graphic is showing the Moon and Sun are very close and so the Moon may not be visible.
Sunset: 7:51 pm CDT
Moonset: 8:28 pm CDT.

Just be careful if trying to see the Moon.

   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”. (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 go to bobs-spaces.


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Perseids Meteor Shower – 2019

   While August signals the end of summer vacation for students and teachers, for sky-watchers the month signals the beginning of the Perseid meteor shower. This annual event occurs when the Earth passes through the path of debris left behind by the Comet P/SwiftTuttle. The Perseids, like all meteor showers, are named for the region of the sky that the meteors seem to radiate from. The Perseids radiant is within the constellation Perseus.
   The meteor shower lasts slightly longer than a month, beginning around July 17 and ending around August 24. The best times for viewing, when the maximum number of meteors could be seen (under ideal conditions), is the peak night, on August 13th. The best time for viewing the meteors is after midnight and in the couple of hours before the Sun rises. At this time, our position on the Earth will face directly into the “cloud” of debris.
   This year the peak night is 3 days before full Moon which is good news because the waxing gibbous Moon will set at around 4-5 am local time as the area around the Pleiades and the radiant rise in the east. This leaves maybe 2 hours of viewing before the sky brightens too much.

  Where should you look to find Perseus and the meteors? For those viewing from mid-northern latitudes (40-50 degrees Perseus rises around midnight over the northeast horizon. By early morning, the Perseids radiant is very high, nearly overhead toward the northeast horizon.

One Perseid Down- Many More to Go?
Perseids: The Peak Night

Here is a wonderful short video about a falling star by Sascha Geddert.


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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