October Moon at Perigee

   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit, on Saturday October 26rd. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.75 Earth diameters, 224,511 miles (361,316 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the perigee Moon the 27.5-day old very thin waning crescent Moon will be over the eastern horizon rising within about 5-6o from the planet Mars. Both will be rising about 1 hour before the Sun so it may be difficult to see them.
   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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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.

   
   
   

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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Waning Crescent Moon Near the Beehive Cluster

  If you are an early riser, on Tuesday morning October 22nd before the Sun rises, look for the 23-day old waning crescent Moon to be about 3-4o from the open star cluster M-44, also known as the Beehive Cluster. This is a group of around 1000 stars estimated to around 500-600 light years distant.
   The two will fit within the field of view of binoculars however the Moon has an apparent magnitude of -12 compared to the 3.5 apparent magnitude of the Beehive Cluster so it will be a challenge to see it near the much brighter 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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Heads Toward the Moon

   Early Monday morning October 21st the last Quarter Moon will be high over the southeastern horizon and more or less lined up with the ‘Twin Stars’ of Gemini, Pollux and Castor. The Moon will be about 4-5o from Pollux and about 9-10o from Castor.

   
   
   

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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October Moon at Ascending Node

   Around midnight local time Saturday night October 19th or very early Sunday October 20th the 21-day old waning gibbous Moon rises. As it is rising the Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. 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 gibbous Moon will be around the kneecaps of the Gemini Twins with the ‘Twin Stars’, Pollux and Castor about 12o east from the Moon.

   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)

   
   
   

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 in Conjunction with Uranus

   Wednesday October 16th the 18-day old waxing gibbous Moon will rise in the east near the two open star clusters in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. These are the Hyades, a v-shaped asterism making up the face of the Bull, and the Pleiades (aka the 7 Sisters) a small dipper-shaped group of stars on the shoulder of the Bull.

   
   
   

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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Along the Ecliptic

   Every once in a while the planets arrange themselves along the horizon and when that happens visualizing the ecliptic is somewhat obvious. For the next week or so all of the naked-eye visible planets except Mars, plus Neptune and Dwarf Planet Ceres, will be above the horizon at sunset local time. If you wait about an hour the Moon and the planet Uranus will rise above the eastern horizon as Mercury and Venus have set in the west.
   The ecliptic is actually the Earth’s orbit and it is used as a reference ‘line’, properly known as the plane of the ecliptic, for all of the Sun orbiting objects. Since few if any Sun orbiting objects have orbits that are on the same plane as the Earth but rather these objects are tilted or inclined either above or below the plane of the ecliptic. This is know as inclination. (Table Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_inclination)

   
   
   

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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