Moon – Aldebaran Conjunction

   Tuesday evening March 12th the 6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 4o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran is also the brightest in the open star cluster the Hyades, a v-shaped appearing group of stars making the face of Taurus. Both the Moon and the v-shape of the Hyades should fit nicely within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars.

    Aldebaran, from mythology, represents the ‘angry eye’ of the bull as it charges toward Orion.

   
   
   

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 Pisces – 2019

11 March 2014   Tuesday March 12th the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Aquarius the Water Bearer and into the constellation of Pisces the Fishes. 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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Moon – Mars Conjunction

   Monday evening March 11th the 5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 7o from the outer terrestrial planet Mars. Both the Moon and Mars will be over the western horizon at sunset, and both should fit nicely within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars.

   
   
   

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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Spring Forward!

   Sunday morning March 10th, in most of the United States of America, people will be setting their clocks one hour forward. This annual ‘event’ is often referred to by the phrase “Spring Forward”.
By setting clocks one hour forward it puts the U.S.A. on Daylight Saving Time. For you astronomical types, and you know who you are, I live at approximately    94oW, in the Central Time Zone. Using UT, Universal Time springing forward for me is a change from UT-6 to UT-5.
   
   You can learn a lot about time and calendars at the Time and Date web site.

   
   
   

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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Neptune and Vesta at Solar Conjunction

   Thursday March 7th the outer planet Neptune, and Asteroid Vesta reach a point in their respective orbit where they move behind the Sun as we view them from Earth. Neptune, or any of the other outer planets (Mars to Neptune), dwarf planets, or small solar system bodies beyond the Earth’s orbit, will all eventually reach this position on the opposite side of the Sun known as solar conjunction.
   For the two inner planets, Mercury and Venus, when they are at a similar position on the opposite side of the Sun, they are at superior conjunction.
   
   
   

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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March Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Monday March 4th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.86 Earth diameters 252,520 miles (406,391 km) from the Earth.

   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth? 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*

   On the day of the apogee the 27.5-day old very thin waning crescent Moon will be over the southeastern horizon 30-60 minutes before sunrise local time.

*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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March Moon at Descending Node

   Saturday March 2nd the Moon will be crossing the plane of 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.
   On the day of the node crossing the 26-day old waning crescent Moon will be over the southeast horizon rising about 1-2 hours before the Sun rises. Toward the west from the Moon will be two outer planets, Saturn and Jupiter, and a bit further west the dwarf planet Ceres. About 4-5o east from the Moon is the inner planet Venus. Both will easily fit within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars.
   
   
   
   
   

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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