Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Wednesday September 27th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.70 Earth diameters (404,308 km or 251,225 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 the apogee the 7.5-day old first quarter Moon rises at mid-day and is about 10o to the east from Saturn and is just above M-8, the Lagoon Nebula. Unfortunately the reflected light from the Moon will brighten the sky enough to make seeing the Milky Way all but impossible. However with binoculars or a telescope M-8 may be seen – but not as well as when the Moon’s light is not interfering.
*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.