Sun Enters Scorpius Today

nov23   Today, 23 November, the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Libra the Scales and into the constellation of Scorpius the Scorpion. 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.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   What is particularly interesting about comparing the Astronomical position of the Sun with the astrological position of the Sun is how the two differ. This is especially noticeable as the Sun only spends 7 days within the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion which is considerably less than what the astrological calendar shows. Today the Sun moves into the boundaries of the scorpion, but over the next week the Sun will traverse the ‘panhandle’ of Scorpius and enter the boundaries of Ophiuchus the Healer as this animated graphic shows.

   An added ‘bonus’ is that my simulation also includes Comet ISON. The full size animated graphic is set to 1 frame per day starting on 22 November and ending on 2 December.

   
   
   
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.

A Well Balanced Moon

Click on image to see full size

Click on image to see full size

   The first quarter Moon this evening lies nearly centered on the fulcrum for the constellation of Libra the Scales as the banner graphic at the top of the page shows. The image to the right shows a view toward the southwest about an hour after local sunset time. The planet Venus is low over the horizon and if you imagine an arc-shaped line curving upward toward the left, or east, along this arc is Spica, then Saturn, and then the first quarter Moon. The inset graphic shows the Moon within 1 degree of the third magnitude star Zubenelgenubi in Libra as would they would appear through 7×50 binoculars.
Click on image to see full size

Click on image to see full size

   With regard to the above written “arc-shaped line curving upward toward the left, or east” this arc-shaped imaginary line is in effect known as the ecliptic. The ecliptic in reality is the orbital path of the Earth around the Sun. However from our perspective we see the ecliptic as the apparent path the Sun follows against the stars in the background. It is the ecliptic that defines the constellations of the zodiac for example. Somewhere within a few degrees on either side of the ecliptic are where the 8 planets, Mercury – Neptune, are located as we view them from Earth. Our Moon also follows a monthly path that takes it above and below the ecliptic.
ecliptic.

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