Moon Slips Past the Scorpion

   Over the next two evenings, Saturday August 18th, and Sunday the 19th, the waning gibbous Moon will pass within about 8-10o from the reddish star Antares, the ‘heart’ of Scorpius the Scorpion.
   Joining the Moon and Jupiter are the planets Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Dwarf Planet Ceres.

   
   
   

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Waxing Crescent Moon Near Spica

   Wednesday evening August 15th the 4.5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 7o from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.
   In addition to the Moon are five planets spread out from west to east – Dwarf Planet Ceres, and the planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

   
   
   

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Let the Moon Lead the Way


   Over the next 10 days, from August 13th to the 23rd, the Moon will move eastward, as it always does, following the ecliptic and interacting with planets and stars near the ecliptic.
   
   
   
               click on any graphic below to view each of the graphics full sized.

   
   
   

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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Perseids 2018 – A Good Year

   Before sunrise on Saturday August 11th, Sunday August 12th, and Monday August 13th look toward the east and southeast for ‘shooting stars’, or meteors. The short-lived streaks of light are radiating outward from the area of the constellation Perseus the Hero. These are the annual Perseids – one of the best meteor showers each year. And these three days are centered more or less on the peak.

   The Perseid Meteor Shower is named for the constellation from where the meteors radiate outward. This is the same for all meteor showers, and the ‘spot’ in the sky is known as the radiant. The Perseid radiant, as shown in the graphic, is within the Perseus constellation, and under ideal viewing conditions (dark and moonless skies) an average of about 60-80 meteors per hour could possibly be seen. This year without the interference of moonlight will increase the chances of seeing the meteors.

   The peak for this year’s Perseids is Monday September 13th at 1 UT (8 pm CDT) however Perseus and the radiant rise at around 11 pm local time. A couple of hours later should be high enough over the horizon to become visible. I always look for a triangle made from using the Pleiades open star cluster, the bright star Capella in the constellation Auriga, and a not as bright star, Mirfak in Perseus. The radiant is up to the left from Mirfak as the graphic shows.

   Best viewing times for seeing the Perseids are early morning a few hours before sunrise after Perseus has risen. This is an ideal time as the part of Earth you are viewing from is rotating toward the east, in the direction the Earth is revolving around the Sun. This means you will be seeing metaors ‘head-on’ as the enter the atmosphere.

    Meteor showers result from the Earth’s orbital path intersecting areas of comet debris. Comets, as they orbit the Sun, leave behind pieces of their icy, dirty, selves. If these debris clouds happen to be along the Earth’s orbital path then the Earth will regularly pass through the comet debris cloud. As this happens the small comet pieces hit our outer atmosphere and vaporize from the friction generated heat. We then see these as the shooting stars that make up meteor showers.

   
   
   
   

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Sun Enters Leo

10aug-view_from-earth
   Friday August 10th the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Cancer the Crab and into the constellation of Leo the Lion. 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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Taurus Noses the Moon

   Monday morning August 6th the 24-day old waning crescent Moon will be about 4o from the reddish star Aldebaran, part of the open star cluster the Hyades. This v-shaped cluster of stars marks the face of Taurus the Bull, and Aldebaran represents the red ‘angry’ eye of Taurus.

   
   
   

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-Saturn Conjunction

   Tuesday evening July 24th the 12-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be within about 2o from the planet Saturn. To west from Saturn is the planet Jupiter and further west over the southwestern horizon is the inner planet Venus. To the east from Saturn is Dwarf Planet Pluto and just rising in the east is the planet Mars.

   The two, Moon and Saturn, should make a fine sight through binoculars or a low power wide-field telescope eyepiece. They are located in an area of the Milky Way rich with deep-sky objects like M-8, the Lagoon Nebula. Unfortunately the reflected light from the Moon drowns out the dimmer deep-sky objects. However a few days from now the Moon will be rising later and will not interfere with seeing some of these objects.

   
   
   

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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