Tuesday morning October 17th the Dwarf Planet Ceres will be within about 3o from M-44, the open star cluster commonly known as the Beehive Cluster. Both will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars and with some careful observation Ceres at 8th magnitude might be identified just to the left from M-44 which appears as a 4th magnitude ‘smudge’ of light.
Tuesday morning October 17th the thin 27.25-day old waning crescent Moon will be about 2o from the planet Mars and about 5o from the inner planet Venus. All three will fit within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars and should make for an interesting view.
Sunday morning October 15th the 25-day old waning crescent Moon will be less than 0.5o from the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. This should make for a great view with binoculars or a low-power telescope eyepiece.
Saturday October 14th the waning crescent Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north relative to the ecliptic. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is actually the Earth’s orbit and the Moon’s orbit is inclined about 6o from the ecliptic. So there are two node intersections, the ascending and descending nodes.
On October 14th the thin 24-day old waning crescent Moon will be just crossing into the boundaries of the constellation Leo the Lion. The Moon will be located about 12o from the heart of the Lion, the star Regulus. Rising above the eastern horizon is the ‘Red Planet’ Mars, and nearby the inner planet Venus.
These two planets are close enough for both to be seen in the field of view of binoculars. Within that same field of view is the 3rd magnitude star Zavijava in the constellation Cancer the Crab, contrasting interestingly with Venus at -4th, and Mars at 2nd magnitudes.
Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as many graphics show? 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*
Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”
Friday morning October 13th, in the hours before sunrise, look toward the eastern horizon for the 23-day old waning crescent Moon to be about 15o east, to the left from the star Procyon (0.37 apparent magnitude). The Moon will also be to the west, right, about 4o from the open star cluster M-44, the Beehive Cluster, and about 6o from Dwarf Planet Ceres.
Thursday morning October 5th the inner planet Venus will be within about 0.5o from the planet Mars. With either a telescope or through binoculars the two planets will make for a great view.
Monday October 2nd 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.
On the day of the node crossing the 13-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be over the east-southeast horizon an hour or so after sunset local time. The Moon will be about 10o from the outermost, and 8th, planet Neptune.
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.