September Moon at Ascending Node

   Thursday September 6th 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 the day of the node crossing the 26-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be about 13o east (left) from the star Procyon in the constellation Canis Minor.

   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*

*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 return to bobs-spaces.


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March Perigee Moon

   The Moon reaches perigee, (minimum distance from Earth), this month on Monday March 26th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.90 Earth diameters (369,106 km or 229352 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 perigee the 9.5-day old waxing gibbous Moon rises at mid-afternoon and is located between Procyon in Canis Minor and Regulus in Leo the Lion.

*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.

Pollux Kicks it Back!


   Over the next couple of nights the 15 to 16 day old waning gibbous Moon will move past Pollux and Castor, the twin stars of Gemini, and Procyon the alpha star in Canis Minor, the Little Dog. With a little imagination or the animated graphic it’s not hard to picture Pollux kicking the Moon. Ok a lot of imagination, or the animated graphic!
Animated graphic shows the sky for December 15th and 16th a couple of hours after sunset.

   
   
   

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.

ISS This Morning

   This morning the International Space Station, ISS, made a short but sweet appearance when it popped into view just west from the ‘Little Dog’ star Procyon. It’s 3-minute path carried past Procyon and then down toward the southeastern horizon passing the star Alphard in the constellation Hydra the Snake. The last quarter Moon was near the star Regulus in Leo the Lion, and as an added there was an Iridium Satellite rising up from the southern horizon.
   This is a composite of 39 pictures stacked together. Camera was set to ISO 1600; F5.6; 3.2 seconds; 18mm.

   
   
   

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.

Moon Near a Beehive


   Very early Sunday morning October 23rd the 22-day old last quarter Moon will be a few degrees from the open star cluster M-44, or commonly known as the ‘Beehive Cluster‘. This should make for an interesting sight with binoculars despite the reflected light from the Moon.

   If you are not a late night observer but like me an early morning observer then the Moon will still be close to M-44 before sunrise. However at that time look south-southeast and high above the horizon. To the right is Procyon in Canis Minor and above the Moon are the ‘Twins’ Pollux and Castor.

   
   
   

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.

Get the Point?

point   Thursday evening March 26th the first quarter Moon lies in the region of the sky off Orion’s right shoulder, the reddish star Betelgeuse. This puts the Moon between the small constellation of Canis Minor with it’s alpha star Procyon, and the brightest night time star, Sirius (no joking!!), in Canis Major.

   But more to the point the Moon looks as if it were about to be stabbed by the Monoceros’s single horn. That’s right, from Greek mythology Monoceros is actually a unicorn. Monoceros translated from Greek means unicorn. As a constellation this one ranks among the dimmest as only a few of the stars of Monoceros are brighter than 4th magnitude. Alpha Monocerotis, for example, is the brightest star in this constellation and only has a magnitude of 3.73. With most of Monoceros’s stars being no brighter this constellation is for the most part invisible for those living within light polluted areas.

   
   
   
   
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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.