Moon in Conjunction with Jupiter

   Monday evening April 30th the just past full Moon, waning gibbous, will be rising within 3-4o from the ringed planet Jupiter. Both are located within the constellation of Libra the Scales. Both the Moon and Jupiter will easily fit within a binocular field of view.

   Very close to the Moon is 4th magnitude Gamma Librae – but given the brightness of the Moon that star may be difficult to see.

   
   
   

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.

A Second Blue Moon

   Saturday evening March 31st the second full Moon of this month will be rising in the east at sunset local time. According to the popular definition for a ‘Blue Moon’ the second full Moon in a month is known as the ‘Blue Moon’. This happens about every 2.5 years with this year being a little more different in that there were two Blue Moons, the first this past January and the second Blue Moon this month.

   
   
   

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.

January Super Full Moon at Perigee


   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance from Earth), for this orbit on Monday January 1st. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 27.98 Earth diameters (356,600 km or 221,581 miles) from the Earth making this full Moon the year’s Super Moon.
   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 perigee Moon the full Moon is above the eastern horizon about 1 hour after sunset local time. The Moon is located near the feet of the Gemini Twins.

   *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.

Venus – Mars Conjunction


   Thursday morning October 5th the inner planet Venus will be within about 0.5o from the planet Mars. With either a telescope or through binoculars the two planets will make for a great view.

   
   
   

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.

Full Moon – Partial Lunar Eclipse


   Monday August 7th the full Moon, just one day before it will be at descending node, passes through the Earth’s outer shadow and briefly crosses through part of the darker inner shadow, the umbra. This sets up a partial lunar eclipse.
   The Earth has two distinct shadows, an inner and much darker umbra, and the outer and fainter penumbra as this NASA graphic shows.
   This eclipse will not be visible across the continental United States.

    For additional information about this or other eclipses go to the Hermit Eclipse web site.

   
   
   

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.

Moon / Saturn Conjunction and Jupiter Pauses Briefly

   Friday June 9th one of the outer planets, Jupiter, becomes stationary in its retrograde westward orbital motion around the Sun. It will now begin moving in direct motion, its orbital direction around the Sun toward the east – as we view it from the Earth. Jupiter’s retrograde motion is something that occurs to varying amounts as the Earth passes by each outer planet.
   This animated graphic is set to show the motion of Jupiter from early May through the end of June. At the start the graphic shows where Jupiter is relative to the star Spica, and then it zooms in to make the retrograde loop for Jupiter easier to see.
   The Earth passing by an outer planet is a result of the Earth having a faster orbital speed, and as the angles between Earth and an outer planet change there is the appearance of the outer planet slowing down and stopping its regular eastward motion. Then for a time ranging from a week or so to several months the outer planet appears to be moving backward or toward the west. After a time the planet resumes its eastward motion.

   On Friday the 9th the just past full Moon, a 15-day old waning gibbous Moon, will be rising about an hour after local time for sunset. Between 2-3o to the right, or west, from the Moon is the planet Saturn as this graphic shows.

   
   
   

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.

June Moon at Apogee


   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Thursday June 8th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.85 Earth diameters (406,401 km or 252,526 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*

*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?”


   On the day of the apogee Moon the 14-day old full Moon rises around local time for sunset and is 9-10o degrees from the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion.

   
   
   

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.