February Full Moon is this Year’s ‘Super Moon’

   The 15.0 day old full Moon reaches perigee this month on Tuesday February 19th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 27.97 Earth diameters 356,762 km (221,682 miles) from the Earth. This is the closest that the Moon will come to the Earth during 2019. What makes this Moon perigee sort of unique is that full Moon occurs 7 hours later.
click on animated graphic to see it larger   This full Moon is the Super Moon of the Year.
   But can you tell the apparent size difference between the full Moons this year?

    Our Moon orbits around the Sun with the Earth and 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)

   Tuesday evening the full Moon rises shortly after sunset local time.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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Twin Conjunctions

click on graphic to see it larger   Monday February 18th the inner planet Venus will be about 1o from the outer planet Saturn as both rise a couple of hours before the Sun rises. The two will make for an interesting view with binoculars.

   Also, on Monday February 18th the 14-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be about 7-8o to the west from the star Regulus in the constellation Leo the Lion. The following day, February 19th, the full Moon will be about the same distance from Regulus but now on the east side. Both rise in the late afternoon about 2 hours before the Sun sets.

   
   
   

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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Taurus Gets ‘Moon Eye’

   Wednesday evening, February 13th the 9-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be within about 1o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the open star cluster the Pleiades. The v-shaped Pleiades make up the face of Taurus the Bull and the star is often referred to as the angry eye of the bull due to the star’s reddish color. The entire star cluster and the Moon all fit well within the field of view of binoculars.

    Further west is a planetary conjunction between Mars and Uranus. Both will fit well within the field of view of 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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Moon – Mars Conjunction


   Sunday evening, February 10th, after sunset local time the 6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be 6-7o from the planet Mars. Close enough to 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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February Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Tuesday February 5th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.87 Earth diameters 406,556 km (252,622 miles) 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 1.5-day old very thin waxing crescent Moon will be over the southwestern horizon at sunset 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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January Moon at Descending Node


   Sunday February 3rd 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 Moon will be over the southeast horizon rising about an 30 minutes before the Sun rises. New Moon is the next day, February 4th, and is too close to the Sun to be seen.
   While the Moon may not be visible there are several planets and bright stars visible in the hour or so before the Sun rises.
   
   
   
   
   

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 – Saturn Conjunction

   Saturday morning February 2nd the thin 27.5-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be 1-2o from the ringed planet Saturn. Both will be rising about 1 hour before the Sun rises, and the two will easily fit within the field of view of 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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