About an hour after local sunset, on Mother’s Day May 12th, go outside and face south and look for the 8-day old waxing gibbous Moon to be near the star Regulus. Then look for the bluish-white colored star Spica.
Spica, a star in Virgo the Harvest Maiden, marks the lower corner of an *asterism known as ‘the Diamond of Virgo’. To see the asterism look up to the left from Spica for the reddish star Arcturus in the kite-shaped constellation Bootes the Herdsman. Then look nearly straight up, the zenith, for the dimmest of the diamond stars, Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. Then look down to the right for the star Denebola, the tail of Leo the Lion.
Look toward the western horizon for a reddish star, actually the ‘Red Planet’ Mars.
*An asterism is a group of stars forming a recognizable pattern using stars within a constellation or by combining stars from more than one constellation. For example, the Big and Little Dipper are asterisms.
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Sunday evening, March 20th the waxing gibbous Moon will be within a few degrees from the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. By Monday evening, the 21st the Moon will have traversed the length of Leo and will be within a few degrees from the planet Jupiter, and the tail of the Lion, the star Denebola.
March 20th-21st – 8:30 pm CDT
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.
The waning gibbous Moon reaches apogee this month on Thursday February 5th at midnight CST, (6 UT Friday February 6th). At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.83 Earth diameters (406,150 km or 252,370 miles) from the Earth.
Our Moon orbits around the Sun with the Earth and 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*.
The waning gibbous Moon rises before midnight local time and is near the tail star, Denebola, in Leo the Lion.