Moon Meets the Twins


   Wednesday morning October 3rd the 23-day old waning crescent Moon will be a few degrees from Pollux and Castor, the two stars making up the head of each of the Gemini Twins.

   
   
   

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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Pollux Kicks it Back!


   Over the next couple of nights the 15 to 16 day old waning gibbous Moon will move past Pollux and Castor, the twin stars of Gemini, and Procyon the alpha star in Canis Minor, the Little Dog. With a little imagination or the animated graphic it’s not hard to picture Pollux kicking the Moon. Ok a lot of imagination, or the animated graphic!
Animated graphic shows the sky for December 15th and 16th a couple of hours after sunset.

   
   
   

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.

Independence Day 2015

              Happy   4th of   July!!               
   Saturday July 4th the United States of America celebrates its Independence Day. Regardless of your location that evening take a look at the skies for not only fireworks but also for three of the brightest planets. Off to the east is the planet Saturn rising just ahead of the Scorpion’s claws. Over the the western horizon are Jupiter and Venus, still close enough to see in the field of view of binoculars. Nearby is the heart of Leo the lion, the star Regulus.

   And if you have a level and low enough horizon there is a chance that you could see Comet PANSTAARS (C/2014 Q1). The comet is a few days away from it perihelion, closest to the Sun, and is estimated to have an apparent magnitude of 5-6 making it just bright enough to be seen with the naked-eye under good dark sky conditions. With binoculars it may resolve into showing a tail. This graphic is from the Sky Live web site and it shows the comet near the ‘Twin Stars’, however note how close this is to the Sun. Once the sky gets dark enough the comet and the ‘Twin Stars’ may be too low to be visible.

   
   
   
   

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.

Sun Not in Cancer

   According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Cancer the Crab on Sunday June 21st at 16:38 UT (11:38 am CDT). When in fact the actual position of the Sun on this date is still within the boundary of the constellation of Taurus the Bull, but by very little. The Sun is very close to the eastern boundary for Taurus and the western boundary for the Gemini Twins, as this graphic and the banner graphic at the top of the page shows.
   Coincidentally this is also the June Solstice.
   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   
   
   
   
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.

Sun Enters Cancer

19july-view-from-earth   Sunday 20 July at 7 pm CDT (0 UT 21 July) the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Gemini the Twins and into the constellation of Cancer the Crab. 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.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   
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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.

Sun Not In Cancer Today

21june-view-from-earth  According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Cancer the Crab on Saturday 21 June at 5:51 am CDT (10:51 UT). When in fact the actual position of the Sun today is still within the boundary of the constellation of Taurus the Bull, but by very little. The Sun is very close to the eastern boundary for Taurus and the western boundary for the Gemini Twins, as this graphic and the banner graphic at the top of the page shows.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   
   
   
   
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.

Along the Ecliptic

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Saturday evening, 31 May, look toward the western horizon for the waxing crescent Moon to be about 6-7o from the planet Jupiter, both of which fit within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars. Nearby are the ‘twin stars’ Pollux and Castor. Using binoculars take a look at the inner planet Mercury as it passes close by the open star cluster, M-35, near the feet of the twins. also know as the Beehive Cluster.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   And don’t forget to look toward the south and eastern horizons as two other visible planets are, well, visible! Mars is still easily seen a little up and to the right (west) from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo. Further toward the east is Saturn, and down to the left (east) from Saturn is the reddish star Antares.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   As you look at the graphic or the actual sky can you see a pattern to how some the of stars and the planets are arranged? Picture a curved line that connects the stars and planets and you are picturing the ecliptic, the Earth’s orbital path and also the apparent path the Sun follows throughout the year.

   
   
   
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.