May Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), for this orbit, on Monday 18th. At that time the 26.5-day old waning crescent Moon will be at a distance of 31.88 Earth diameters 252,028 miles (405,600 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the apogee the thin waning crescent Moon rises about 1-2 hours before sunrise local time. Looking carefully with binoculars you may be able to see nearby 4th magnitude star 20 Ceti, one of the many stars that are part of the constellation Cetus the Whale.

   

   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*

   *Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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.


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Go Fish!


   Monday evening January 22nd the 6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be in transit between two members of the ‘water-world’ part of our skies. The constellations Cetus the Whale and Pisces the Fishes will be the hosts for the Moon for the next few days. This animated graphic starts with Monday and is set to 1-day intervals ending on the 26th.

   
   
   

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.

Finding Uranus

Click on image to see it full size

Click on image to see it full size

   Okay – the ‘cute’ answer is look behind you, however from an Astronomer’s perspective this may prove difficult so look westward shortly after sunset for the 4 stars making up the asterism The Square of Pegasus and follow the two stars on the left side of the square in a straight line toward the horizon and you will have found Uranus. It is just to the east from another asterism, the Circlet of Cetus the Whale. Uranus is right at the limit of brightness for naked-eye seeing but in binoculars or telescope it is visible as small dot.
location
   Uranus is located just east of the 0-hour line, the location of the Sun on the March equinox.
   
   
   
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.