Moon on the Move – Actually It Doesn’t Stop!

   Over the next couple of evenings the waxing gibbous Moon will pass by two outer planets, Jupiter and Dwarf Planet Ceres. On the 8th the 8-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be about 2o from the Dwarf Planet Ceres, and on the 9th the 9-day old Moon will be about 2o from Jupiter.


   
   
   

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August Moon at Perigee

   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit, on Friday August 2nd. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.175 Earth diameters, 223,319 miles (359,398 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the perigee Moon the 2-day old thin waxing crescent Moon will be over the western horizon setting about 1 hour after the Sun sets.

   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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A Black Moon

   What is a “Black Moon”? According to a commonly used definition a “Black Moon” is any month during which there are 2 new Moons, or even more rare a month with no new Moons. Obviously the Moon at new phase is in the direction of the Sun and therefore is not visible at all, perhaps given rise to the name “Black Moon” because the illuminated side of the Moon is toward the Sun, and the unilluminated, dark, side of the Moon is toward the Earth.
   On Thursday August 1st the first of two new Moons this month will rise about 30 minutes after the Sun rises and will not be visible as it follows the Sun across the sky to moonset about 1 hour after sunset local time. On August 30th the second new Moon of the month will follow a similar pattern as the new Moon on August 1st in that this new Moon also will not be visible as it too follows the Sun, setting within an hour after the Sun sets. Graphics below are set for the time when the new Moon transits, or is due south, and is mid-way between rising and setting.
   What makes the term “Black Moon”, in this instance, interesting is that depending on your time zone the “Black Moon” may have been either July or August depending on your local time zone for the new Moon of July 31st or August 1st.

 
New Moon Dates and Times (using UT)
July 2          19:16 UT
August 1         3:12 UT  (July 31 10:12 pm CDT)
August 30       10:37 UT


   
   
   

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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July Moon at 2nd Ascending Node

   Tuesday July 30th the 27.5-day old thin 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 very thin waning crescent Moon rises about an hour before the Sun rises and is located nearly directly west from the ‘Twin’ stars, Pollux and Castor.

   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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A Bullish Moon, or A Moon – Bull Conjunction, or Bull Gets Mooned!

   Over the next 3 mornings, July 26, 27,and 28 before sunrise, the waning crescent Moon will be moving across the shoulders and head of the constellation Taurus the Bull. As it traverses the constellation pattern the waning Moon will come within about 8o from the open star cluster, the Pleiades and within about 4-5o from the v-shaped open star cluster the Hyades.
   This should make for some good viewing through binoculars, especially on the 27th when the Moon passes about 2-3o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the Hyades. How close the conjunction between the Moon and Aldebaran will be depends greatly on your viewing location’s longitude. This graphic is for when the two are their closest which is 2.5o around 1 UT (8 pm CDT).


   
   
   


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 Enters Cancer – 2019

19july-view-from-earth   Sunday July 21st the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Gemini the Twins and into the constellation of Cancer the Crab. 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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Mercury at Inferior Conjunction

   Sunday July 21st the innermost planet Mercury reaches inferior conjunction. At inferior conjunction Mercury will move between the Earth and the Sun – much like the position of the Moon at new phase. The graphic to the right shows the planet positions relative to the Earth and Sun for both inner planets and outer planets.

   At this inferior conjunction Mercury will not be directly in line with the Earth and the Sun – on the ecliptic. Mercury has an orbital inclination of 7o with respect to the ecliptic. So like our Moon, Mercury during each complete orbit, will cross the plane of the ecliptic moving north (ascending node) and also moving south (descending node). For this inferior conjunction Mercury will be south of the ecliptic, but angling north approaching its ascending node toward the middle of next month.

   
   
   

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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