Moon Cruises Past Planets and Stars

feb5-bino
   Over the next several evenings the Moon, as it orbits toward the east and waxes from crescent to first quarter phase will pass by several planets, dwarf planets, and star clusters. On the evening of February 5th the Moon will be close to the reddish star Aldebaran, the ‘eye’ in the face of the angry bull, Taurus. This should make for a nice view with binoculars or low power eyepiece when the Moon will sort of overlay the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades.

   These two animated graphics show the sky as viewed from Quito Ecuador at 0o latitude, and my home latitude of approximately 40o North. They show the sky at one day intervals starting with February 1st and ending with February 5th.


   
   
   

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.

Moon Gets Nosed by the Bull

   Sunday January 8th the 11 day old waxing gibbous Moon will be a few degrees from the nose of Taurus the Bull, and the stars making up the open star cluster the Hyades.
8jan-bino  Through 7×50 binoculars the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades and the Moon will make for an interesting sight.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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.

December Perigee Moon Hits the Bull’s Eye

14dec-perigee_moon   The Moon reaches perigee, (minimum distance from Earth), this month on Monday December 12th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.1 Earth diameters (356,509 km or 221,524 miles) from the Earth.
   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*
   On the day of the lunar perigee the 13.5-day old waxing gibbous Moon rises at around sunset local time and is over the southwest horizon at sunrise the following morning. The Moon is also very close to the star Aldebaran in the v-shaped open star cluster making the face of Taurus the Bull, the Hyades. Depending on your location this may be an occultation of the star by the Moon, or a very close conjunction. Nonetheless with binoculars or a wide field telescope eyepiece the Moon superimposed on the Hyades should make for great viewing.
   
   
   *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 go to bobs-spaces.

Moon Near a Beehive


   Very early Sunday morning October 23rd the 22-day old last quarter Moon will be a few degrees from the open star cluster M-44, or commonly known as the ‘Beehive Cluster‘. This should make for an interesting sight with binoculars despite the reflected light from the Moon.

   If you are not a late night observer but like me an early morning observer then the Moon will still be close to M-44 before sunrise. However at that time look south-southeast and high above the horizon. To the right is Procyon in Canis Minor and above the Moon are the ‘Twins’ Pollux and 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.

Moon May Get Stung!

   Monday morning September 26th the 25-day old waning crescent Moon will be within about 5o from the open star cluster M-44, also known as the Beehive Cluster. This is a collection of several hundred stars with a combined apparent magnitude of around 4 making it bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye.
26sep-bino
   Even in moderately light polluted skies M-44 can be seen, and seen even better when viewed with 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.

Moon At Our Feet!

   On a regular basis the Moon, at some point in its cycle of phases, passes above Orion’s head on its way to a traverse of the Gemini constellation. Often the Moon’s orbit takes it past the feet of the Gemini twins and sometimes near the open star cluster, M-35. This is a group of several hundred stars with an apparent magnitude between 5 and 6 that is fairly easily seen as a fuzzy patch of light – like an out-of-focus star.
   However with the light from the nearby first quarter Moon brightening this part of the sky seeing M-35 will be very difficult.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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.

Moon Passes the Hyades

   Over the next couple of nights or early mornings the waning gibbous Moon will pass across the stars of the Hyades, a v-shaped open star cluster that makes up the face of Taurus the Bull. Depending on your geographical location you may see the Moon either pass very closely to the reddish star Aldebaran.
    From parts of Eastern Africa, Middle East, and South Asia the waning Gibbous Moon will be within 0.2o from Aldebaran.
   
   
   

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.