Waxing Crescent Moon on the Move

   Over the next several evenings the waxing crescent Moon will have moved past the planet Mars and the open star cluster the Pleiades and gradually move past another open star cluster the Hyades. Both open star clusters are part of the constellation Taurus the Bull.

   
   
   

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Mars and Two Open Clusters

   Monday evening April 1st the planet Mars was within about 3o from the open star cluster the Pleiades and about 8-9o from the open star cluster the Hyades. These two open star clusters are part of the constellation Taurus the Bull with the v-shaped Hyades and its reddish star Aldebaran making up the Bull’s face, and the ‘small dipper-shaped’ Pleiades are located along the Bull’s shoulder.

   From mythology it has been told that Orion and Taurus are engaged in a battle. Orion with a shield held up against the charging bull, and the anger of the bull indicated by its red eye, the star Aldebaran.

   
   
   

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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Mars – Pleiades Conjunction

click on graphic to see it larger   Sunday March 31st the planet Mars will be 3-4o from the open star cluster the Pleiades allowing both to fit within the field of view of binoculars. For the next several days Mars will pass the Pleiades as Mars moves eastward against the apparent daily westward motion of the stars in the background resulting from the Earth’s revolution around the Sun.

   
   
   

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 – 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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Moon and the Hyades

   Wednesday and Thursday January 16th and the 17th the waning gibbous Moon will be passing past the open star cluster the Hyades and the reddish star Aldebaran. This is a v-shaped group of stars that make up the face of Taurus the Bull. The Hyades is one of two open star clusters in the constellation Taurus. The other is a small dipper-shaped group of stars, the Pleiades, located on the shoulder 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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October Moon at Ascending Node

   Thursday October 4th the 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 26-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be about 1o from the open star cluster known as the ‘Beehive Cluster’, M-44. Given that the Moon has an apparent magnitude of 14.0 compared with the 4th magnitude of the Beehive Cluster it may be difficult to see the star cluster.

   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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Moon in a Face-Off with Taurus


   Sunday September 30th the 20-day old waning gibbous Moon will be within 1-2o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the open star cluster the Hyades. The Hyades are a v-shaped group of stars making up the face of Taurus the Bull.
Aldebaran is at the tip of one of the
lines making up the v-shape and, with its reddish color, represents the ‘angry eye’ 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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