May Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), for this orbit, on Monday 18th. At that time the 26.5-day old waning crescent Moon will be at a distance of 31.88 Earth diameters 252,028 miles (405,600 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the apogee the thin waning crescent Moon rises about 1-2 hours before sunrise local time. Looking carefully with binoculars you may be able to see nearby 4th magnitude star 20 Ceti, one of the many stars that are part of the constellation Cetus the Whale.

   

   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)

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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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Moon Mars Conjunction x2

   Thursday morning May 14th the last quarter Moon will be about 8-9o to the west from the ‘Red Planet’ Mars. The following morning, Friday May 15th the waning crescent Moon will be about 6-7o from Mars but this time on the east side.



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 Taurus the Bull – 2020

   Wednesday May 13th the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Aries the Ram and into the constellation of Taurus the Bull. 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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Give Mom a Diamond

   This Mother’s Day, weekend, or Sunday May 10th, give Mom or your favorite mother(s) a stellar treat by showing them a group of 4 stars making up a large star pattern known as the ‘Diamond of Virgo’.
   Step outside around mid-evening and look toward the east-southern horizon. Two of the four diamond stars are easily seen and may help serve as a guide to the other two diamond stars.
   Spica, a star in Virgo the Harvest Maiden, marks the lower corner of an *asterism known as ‘the Diamond of Virgo’. Look up to the left from Spica for the reddish star Arcturus in the kite-shaped constellation Bootes the Herdsman. Then look nearly straight up, the zenith, for the dimmest of the diamond stars, Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. Then look down to the right for the star Denebola, the tail of Leo the Lion.
   

*An asterism is a group of stars forming a recognizable pattern using stars within a constellation or by combining stars from more than one constellation. For example, the Big and Little Dipper are asterisms.

   
   
   

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 – Antares Conjunction

   Saturday morning May 9th the 16-day old waning gibbous Moon will be about 6-7o from the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion, the reddish star Antares.
   Joining the waning gibbous Moon will be the several of the visible planets arranged west to east starting with Jupiter, then Saturn, and Mars further east. The Dwarf Planet Ceres is also part of the planet spread but at 8th magnitude Ceres would require binoculars to see.

   
   
   
   

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 – Spica Conjunction

   Tuesday evening May 5th the 12-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be about 7o from the blue-white star Spica in the constellation Virgo the Harvest Maiden.

   In illustrations of Virgo the star Spica represents a bundle of grasses (wheat, oats) held in her left hand.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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 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

   
   
   
   
   
   

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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