March Moon at Descending Node

   Saturday March 2nd 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 26-day old waning crescent Moon will be over the southeast horizon rising about 1-2 hours before the Sun rises. Toward the west from the Moon will be two outer planets, Saturn and Jupiter, and a bit further west the dwarf planet Ceres. About 4-5o east from the Moon is the inner planet Venus. Both will easily fit within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars.
   
   
   
   
   

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Waning Crescent Moon in a Close Conjunction with Saturn

    Friday March 1st the 25-day old waning crescent Moon will be less than 0.5o from the ringed planet Saturn, as the two rise before the Sun rises. In other parts of the world the Moon actually passes in front of Saturn in an occultation. Regardless of the viewing location the thin waning crescent Moon and the planet Saturn should make for a great view with 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 Conjunction with Dwarf Planet Ceres, then the Next Day with Jupiter

   In the hour or so before the Sun rises on the morning of February 26th look for the 21-day old last quarter Moon to be about 3-4o from the Dwarf Planet Ceres. Realize, however, that seeing Ceres is not really possible given that Ceres has an apparent magnitude of between 7th to 8th, while the last Quarter Moon has an apparent magnitude between -11th to -12th.
   In any case, on the morning of the 27th look for the 22-day old waning crescent Moon to be about 1-2o from the outer planet Jupiter.


   
   
   

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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Mars – Jupiter at Heliocentric Opposition

31oct-view-from-mars   Saturday February 23rd the planets Mars and Jupiter are aligned in an arrangement known as heliocentric opposition. The two planets are on opposite sides of the Sun and are approximately 180o apart in heliocentric longitude as measured around the celestial equator. Mars has a heliocentric longitude of approximately 71.0o, while Jupiter is at 251.0o.
   
   
   

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 – Spica Conjunction

   Friday February 22nd the 18-day old waning gibbous Moon will be about 6-7 o from the blue-white star Spica in the constellation of Virgo the Harvest Maiden. Both easily fit within the field of view of binoculars. Both the Moon and Spica rise a few hours before midnight local time and set a couple of hours after sunrise local time.

   
   
   

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 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.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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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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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