Wednesday morning, August 28th, before the Sun rises local time look for the very thin 27-day old waning crescent Moon to be ‘on top’ of the open star cluster the Beehive Cluster, M-44. This should prove to be a great sight either with binoculars or telescope.
Sunday evening, May 19th, the ‘Red Planet’ Mars will be passing across the open star cluster M-35. This is a group of stars almost 4,000 light years distant located in the constellation of Gemini the Twins, near their feet. Depending on local sky conditions M-35 may be visible with the unaided, but now with Mars traversing the star cluster it also will be a great sight with binoculars, a telescope, and a camera.
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Friday evening May 10th the 6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be ‘on top’ of the open star cluster, M-44, or the Beehive Cluster. This should make for a great viewing sight through the field of view of binoculars or telescope, and certainly would make for a striking astrophoto.
Friday November 10th the last quarter 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.
The three are close enough for all to fit within the field of view of binoculars.
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.
Tuesday morning August 1st the inner planet Venus will pass within 3o from the open star cluster, M-35. Also known as the ‘Beehive Cluster’ this is an open star cluster located near the feet of the Gemini Twins. M-35 consists of several hundred stars and is approximately 2800 light years from our solar system. The star cluster has an apparent magnitude of around 5.5 making it naked-eye visible and certainly a binocular-worthy object.
Through binoculars it is easy to see M-35 as well as a 3rd and a 2nd magnitude star within a couple of degrees. However the ‘ruler’ of the binocular field of view is Venus with a -4.0 magnitude.
Monday evening May 29th the 5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within 3-4o from the open star cluster M-44, or as it probably more known as the “Beehive Cluster”, or from Latin, Praesepe, meaning “manger”.
Both of which fit easily within the field of view of binoculars.
This open star cluster, as a group, has a 3rd-4th apparent magnitude and to the naked eye appears as a fuzzy patch of light in Cancer the Crab. M-44 is near the 4th magnitude star Asellus Australis, the star that marks the splitting point for the Y-shaped star pattern.