Friday April 12th the 7-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north relative to the ecliptic. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is actually the Earth’s orbit and the Moon’s orbit is inclined about 6o from the ecliptic. So there are two node intersections, the ascending and descending nodes.
On the day of the node crossing the 7-day old first quarter Moon rises around mid-day and sets the following day.
Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as many graphics show? 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*
This year is the 75th anniversary for the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association), and this graphic helps to celebrate the event by highlighting Alphecca Gemma, the brightest star in the constellation Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. This star is 75 light years distant and so the light you see coming from that star left Alphecca Gemma the year that NSTA started.
The date of April 12th was chosen because during this week Science Teachers and other educators will gather in St. Louis, MO for our annual conference. See you there?
*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 return to bobs-spaces.
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