Our Moon in Motion

Moon in Motion November 7-18

   During the evening hours between Wednesday November 7th – 18th the Moon will orbit eastward passing several planets and bright stars as it goes from a thin waxing crescent shape to just past first quarter and the waxing gibbous shape by the 18th.
    (The animated graphic is set to 1-day intervals.)
    In addition to the Moon moving along in its orbit the Earth is also moving eastward along its orbit around the Sun. As the Earth revolves the sky shifts toward the west gradually moving the stars closer to the western horizon. Even the planets gradually shift toward the western horizon and out of sight.

   
   
   

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Mercury at Eastern Elongation

orbital-positions    On Tuesday November 6th Mercury, the innermost planet, will reach its orbital position known as greatest eastern elongation. At that moment Mercury, the Sun, and the Earth, would be arranged in something close to approximating a right angle as this graphic shows.
   From our perspective the orbits of Mercury and Venus appear to move from one side of the Sun to the other – from superior conjunction, behind the Sun, out to the left (east) from the Sun to eastern elongation, then reverse and move westward through (inferior conjunction) between the Earth and the Sun to western elongation. From there the inner planet moves eastward going behind the Sun (superior conjunction) and eventually reappearing on the eastern side of the Sun for an eastern elongation. Repeat over and over – do not stop!

   Currently Mercury is visible over the western horizon at sunset local time. Joining Mercury to the right (west) is the planet Jupiter, and further east the planet Saturn, and not shown in this graphic but is there over the southeastern horizon the planet Mars. A few degrees to the left (east) from Mercury is the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion.
   
   
   

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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Crescent Moon Near Jupiter, Then Near Antares

   The next two evenings watch for the waxing crescent Moon to move past Jupiter on the 11th, then pass near the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion on the 12th.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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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A Busy Moon: Apogee; Descending Node; Mars Conjunction

   Thursday September 20th the waxing gibbous 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.

   Our Moon also reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Thursday September 20th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.74 Earth diameters (361,354 km or 224,535 miles) from the Earth.

   On the evening of the apogee and node crossing the 11-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be over the southeast horizon at sunset in conjunction with the ‘Red Planet’, passing within 10-11o east from the planet Mars. Joining the Moon and Mars are the planets Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus – all to the west from the Moon and Mars.

   
   
   

   

   
   
   

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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Scorpius Claws the Moon!

   Friday evening September 14th the 5-day old waxing Crescent Moon will be within about 8-9o from the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion. Joining the Moon to the west is the planet Jupiter, and to the east the planets Saturn and Mars. The inner planet Venus has already set by the time this graphic is set for.

   
   
   

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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Crescent Moon and the Planets

   Tuesday evening September 11th the 2.5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be 7-8o from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden, and about 8-9o from the inner planet Venus. Joining Venus and the Moon are several planets arranged from west to east – Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. Northwest from Venus is the dwarf planet Ceres, but at 8th apparent magnitude Ceres requires an optical aid like powerful binoculars or a telescope.to be seen.

   
   
   

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 Slips Past the Scorpion

   Over the next two evenings, Saturday August 18th, and Sunday the 19th, the waning gibbous Moon will pass within about 8-10o from the reddish star Antares, the ‘heart’ of Scorpius the Scorpion.
   Joining the Moon and Jupiter are the planets Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Dwarf Planet Ceres.

   
   
   

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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