Moon Passes Gas(eous) Objects)


   Thursday evening August 24th the waxing crescent Moon passes by the outer gas giant planet Jupiter, and then on Friday evening August 25th the waxing crescent Moon passes by the gas-composed bluish-white star star Spica in the constellation 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.

Solar Eclipse Follow-Up

   Fearing for massive traffic jams we (wife Susan and granddaughter Keeley) left for Briarcliff Elementary School in North Kansas City around 8 am. Virtually no traffic as we went around the city and went across the Missouri River and river valley on Highway 169 and then up the bluff on the other side to the school. Lightning was to the north and southwest and thunder was rumbling – but the Sun was sort of shining through broken clouds.

   The sky remained partly cloudy as I set up and students were coming outside to practice how to use their eclipse glasses. The sky stayed partly cloudy until about 10 minutes before totality as the leading edge of what would soon be rain approached from the northwest as broken cumulus type clouds.

   Leading up to totality there were two distinct sunspot groups visible as this picture shows. We were fortunate that the sky stayed relatively clear leading up to totality. However the broken clouds started clumping together but the clouds did part several times allowing for us to see totality each time there was a break in the clouds.
   No post totality pictures because within a few seconds after totality ended the last of the broken clouds passed and the sky was completely overcast. As we left the school it was raining. Got home a few minutes before the eclipse ended – skies were partly cloudy – so we had one last look with eclipse glasses.


   A big shout-out to Mrs. Kate Place, her staff and students, at Briarcliff Elementary School for hosting the Eclipse on the Cliff event.
   Click here to see 360o pictures and videos. Be sure to select HD at the highest resolution possible.
   
   
   

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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.

Sun Not In Virgo

   
According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Virgo the Maiden on Tuesday August 22nd. When in fact the actual position of the Sun on this date is toward the west and still within the boundaries of the constellation of Leo the Lion.
   And if you were viewing the solar eclipse you were seeing the Sun in Leo with the heart of the Lion, the star Regulus, just to the left of the Sun.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   

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.

August Perigee Moon

Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit on Friday August 18th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.70 Earth diameters (366,121 km or 227,497 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 perigee Moon the 26-day old thin waning crescent Moon is above the eastern horizon about 30 minutes to an hour before the Sun rises. The inner planet Venus (-3.97 apparent magnitude) is within about 9o from the Moon while the Dwarf Planet Ceres, at an apparent 8th magnitude is too dim to be visible to the naked eye, is about 8o from the Moon.

   *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.

Taurus Head-Butts the Moon


   Wednesday morning August 16th the 24-day old waning crescent Moon is within 2-3o from the reddish star Aldebaran and the rest of the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades, forming the v-shaped face of Taurus the Bull.

   
   
   With 10×50 binoculars the Hyades and the Moon will all fit within the field of view as this graphic is showing.

   
   
   

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.

Triangulating with the Moon

   Tuesday morning, August 15th the 23-day old first quarter Moon will be the point of a celestial triangle with the two open star clusters, the Pleiades, and the Hyades as this graphic shows. The v-shaped Hyades forms the face of Taurus the Bull while the ‘dipper-shaped’ Pleiades lies along the Bull’s shoulder. Both open star clusters are about 8o from 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.

The Moon and Uranus – They Are Not the Same Thing!

   Ok, so how can you Moon Uranus? Yeah I know – a sad, and bad joke. Let’s put it behind us.
   Sunday morning, August 13th, the 21-day old waning gibbous Moon rises within a few degrees from the planet Uranus. Both are within the eastern fish of the constellation Pisces the Fishes. Uranus ‘shines’ at just under 6th magnitude so it is possible to see the 7th main planet from the Sun with binoculars. However the reflected light from the Moon will brighten the sky more than enough to drown out the dimmer light from Uranus and most other stars in the area making them not visible.
   Not that it will be visible but near the Moon on the opposite side from Uranus is one of the dwarf planets, Eris. However at nearly 19th magnitude and almost 95.729 AU, (8,898,566,474 miles ; 14,320,854,563 km) from the Earth it is all but impossible to see without some serious amateur equipment, at an observatory, or with the Hubble Telescope. Add approximately an additional 1 AU (93,000,000 miles; 1,496,68992,000 km) to get its distance from the Sun.
   What did I say about enough of the ‘bad jokes’? This cartoon reminded me of the statement, “Captain, We’re orbiting Uranus searching for Klingons.”

   
   
   
   
   
   Speaking of Uranus here is a portion of the Orbits performance video showing Uranus and some of its moons.

   
   
   

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.