Moon Splits the Distance


   Wednesday morning November 15th the thin 27-day waning crescent Moon will be located more or less between the planet Mars and the bluish-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.

   
   
   

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.

Changing Places!


   Over the next several days the inner planet Venus will be moving eastward past the outer planet Jupiter. They will be the closest on Monday November 13th when they will be separated by less than 0.5o. This animated graphic is set for 1-day intervals running from the 8th to the 16th and shows a simulated view using 10×50 binoculars at around 6:30 am CST.

   

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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.

Orion Rising, but Not Before Me!

   So what do most people do if they wake up at 2:30 am on a Sunday morning and can’t get back to sleep? Since this is a day off for many it means making an effort to get back to sleep for more time sleeping or staying in bed.
   What did I do?
   I gave up, got up, and let the dogs out (yeah, that answers that question!), and while they were out doing their morning business, albeit much earlier then they normally do, I checked the skies to see if they were clear. They were so then I thought if the skies are clear and I am already up, what can I see or what could I do?
   The result this morning are two versions of using images taken during a time-lapse sequence. The two pictures below are based on a taking 1 picture every minute (3:50 am CDT to 4:52 am CDT) for 61-minutes.
   The star trails picture is of the stars of Orion, and the general area surrounding Orion, rising above the treeline on the southeast side of my backyard. In making the star trails image I purposely skipped a couple of the pictures after the first one. This makes the stars of Orion more distinctive and easier to see. Not sure about the red streak as that was only in one picture.
   As I was aiming the camera and trying settings I happened to catch a few shots of a passing airplane. It’s flashing lights and the ‘always on’ lights make a distinctive pattern. Since these images were taken sort of at the same time, or at least within a a few seconds, it was possible to stack them without showing star trails.
   Camera particulars: Canon Rebel T7i; 18mm; f/4; 4 sec.; ISO-1600

   
   
   

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 Conjunction with Aldebaran


   The Moon this morning, September 12th at 5:50 am CDT within about 0.5o from the star Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull. None of the other stars making up the v-shaped open star cluster the Hyades were visible as the reflected light from the Moon was too bright.
   Camera Canon Rebel T7i:
   300 mm; f/25; 1/4 sec.; ISO-100.

   
   
   

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.

ISS Followed the Arc

   Last evening, Sunday June 11th the ISS, International Space Station orbited over my part of the world. The ISS appeared about 45o above the west-northwest horizon and followed a path that went below the bowl of the Big Dipper and in a straight line ‘followed the arc to Arcturus’ in the constellation Bootes the Herdsman. At its peak the ISS reached nearly the zenith and at its brightest had to be at least -3.0 in apparent magnitude. After a several minutes the ISS moved out of sunlight and faded from view above the southeastern horizon.
Camera settings were 18mm; ISO 800; F4.0; 2 sec.
   One dependable and accurate source of viewing information for the ISS is at NASA’s ISS Sightings web site. Here you may learn the time and direction the ISS will appear, its duration of visibility, and its time and direction it will stop being visible.

   In a similar manner the Heavens Above web site will also provide viewing information for the ISS but in addition it will display a star map showing the path across the sky. This sample graphic shows the ISS path for June 12th.

   Want to see what the Earth looks like from the ISS? Click on this link to go to the ISS HD Earth Viewing web site for a view from one of several cameras mounted on the ISS as this screen capture shows. There are two additional maps that show the current position and orbital path of the ISS.
   
   
   

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.

May Apogee Moon

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Friday May 12th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.84 Earth diameters (406,210 km or 252,407 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*


   The 16-day old waning gibbous Moon rises a few hours before midnight local time, and is located near the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion, and the planet Saturn.

*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.

Moon – Spica Conjunction


   Monday evening May 8th watch for the 12.5-day old waxing gibbous Moon to be about 8o from the blue-white star Spica in the constellation Virgo the Harvest Maiden. Both will just barely 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.