The ‘Dot’ Moon

Click on graphic to see full size.

Click on graphic to see full size.

   Many of us have learned the asterism shape for Leo the Lion as a backward question mark. Or if you are from a somewhat bygone era you may have learned Leo’s shape as a scythe, like the one a farmer harvesting wheat would have used ‘way back whenever’. However the problem, at least to me, has always been in using the bright star Regulus as the ‘dot’ for the backward question mark shape. Tonight that problem is resolved by the position of the waning gibbous Moon. For a while the Moon will be the dot, albeit a large and bright one, directly below Regulus as the graphics show. Both of which are set for 9:30 pm CST, or 3:30 UT on the 19th. However the Moon and the Earth keep on moving so between the time these graphics were set for and the same time tomorrow the Moon will have moved eastward past Regulus.

   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Venus-Regulus Conjunction

Venus Meets Regulus

Click on image for full size

   This evening and tomorrow evening the inner planet Venus will be about 1 degree from the bright star Regulus in Leo the Lion. Venus is currently moving eastward along its orbital path out away from the Sun. This month and next month Venus will be the ‘bright’ object over the western horizon at sunset. However due to the low angle of the ecliptic Venus will not be very high above the western horizon as viewed from the northern hemisphere. Click here to see a graphic showing the ecliptic and Venus’s orbital path.
venus   As seen from a backyard perspective with a telescope Venus appears relatively small and in the gibbous phase.
   Click here for VR view of the sky – requires the Quicktime Player if the video file is downloaded.

   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.