Mars Backs Up!

   Thursday June 28th the ‘Red Planet’ Mars begins its retrograde motion. Retrograde motion is the apparent backward, or westward motion that a planet will appear to make at a regular point in its revolution around the Sun. This happens when the faster orbiting Earth catches up and passes by an outer planet. As this is happening the outer planet appears to slow down and then reverse its orbital direction toward the west. After a period of time (days to months) the outer planet again appears to slow down and then return to its regular eastward, or direct motion.


   Mars ends its retrograde motion and resumes its regular direct or eastward motion on August 28th as it moves across the constellation of Capricornus the Sea Goat.

An Inner Planet Orbit
   We typically think of retrograde motion as being done by an outer planet from the Earth. However the two inner planets Mercury and Venus also undergo retrograde motion. Approximately one-half of their respective orbits is eastward as is with all the other planets. This then brings the inner planets to what is know as eastern elongation in the evening skies. The other half of the orbit for Mercury and Venus is toward the west as they move from eastern elongation through inferior conjunction toward western elongation in the morning skies.

Coordinate Positions for Mars

 Date        Right Ascension	   
  		 h  m  	            
June 25	        20 51	
July 5	        20 50	
July 15	        20 45	
July 25	        20 35	
August 4	20 23	
August 14	20 14	
August 24	20 08	
September 3	20 09

   
   
   

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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The Moon Is Visible!

moon-sea_goat-ani   Monday evening the waxing gibbous Moon will be over the southern horizon about 2 hours after local time for sunset. The Moon will be within the constellation of Capricornus the Sea Goat. Over toward the southwest will be the planet Mars about to set.

   
   
   

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.

Sun Enters Aquarius

feb-view from earth   Monday 16 February at 20 UT (2 pm CST), the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Capricornus the Sea Goat and into the constellation of Aquarius the Water Bearer. This is the true or actual position of the Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which usually has the astrological Sun one constellation ahead or east from the Astronomical Sun’s position. Which will be Wednesday 18 February when the sun is not in Pisces according to astrology.

   
   
   
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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.

Sun Enters Aquarius Today

16 February

16 February

   Today Sunday 16 February at 8 am CST, (14 UT), the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Capricornus the Sea Goat and into the constellation of Aquarius the Water Bearer. This is the true or actual position of the Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which usually has the astrological Sun one constellation ahead or east from the Astronomical Sun’s position. Which will be Tuesday 18 February when the sun is not in Pisces according to astrology.

   
   
   
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.