June Moon at Descending Node

   Wednesday June 19th the Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.

   On the day of the node crossing the 17.0-day old waning gibbous Moon will be over the southern horizon and will be about 13-14o to the east from the ringed planet Saturn.

   
   
   
   
   

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Moon on the Move

   Over the next several evenings (June 14th through the 16th) the Moon, as it waxes through its gibbous phase, will pass by the Dwarf Planet Ceres and the outer giant planet Jupiter. The Moon will be about 5-6o from Ceres as it passes from the west side to the east side of the Dwarf Planet. Then it will be about 5-6o from Jupiter as it moves from the west side to the east side of the Jupiter.

   
   
   

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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Jupiter at 2019 Opposition

Zooming in on Jupiter at Opposition   Monday June 10th the outer giant ringed planet Jupiter reaches the point in its orbit around the Sun that places the Earth in between Jupiter and the Sun. This is known as opposition, and opposition is an orbital position that applies to solar system objects (outer planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, etc.) orbiting the Sun beyond the Earth’s orbit. An object at opposition will have approximately the same heliocentric longitude as the Earth’s heliocentric longitude. So on Tuesday both planets will have a heliocentric longitude of around 228o.
   An opposition of Jupiter occurs approximately every 13 months because both Earth and Jupiter are moving. After one Earth Revolution, an Earth year, the planet Earth will be where it was the previous year at opposition with Jupiter. However Jupiter will not be there because it has moved during the past year as well. It will take the Earth about an extra month or so to catch up with Jupiter. Earth moves 360o each year while Jupiter moves approximately 12o each Earth year.
Sunset Local Time Sunset Local Time.
   When an object is at opposition it rises at approximately the same time as local sunset and that same object at opposition sets at approximately the time of local sunrise. In other words an object at opposition will be up all night from sunrise to sunset.
   Picture our Moon at full phase and how it is directly opposite the Sun, with the Earth in between. The full Moon in effect is at opposition but we call it the full Moon instead. And so both the full Moon and Jupiter at opposition, rise at sunset, set at sunrise, and both will be visible all night.

   
   
Take a brief tour of the Jovian (Jupiter) system. Music by Dark Matter.
Live recording of music written by Richard Johnson. Video by me!

   
   
   

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.

Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), for this orbit, on Sunday May 26th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 31.68 Earth diameters 251,117 miles (404,134 km) from the Earth.

   The 22-day old last quarter Moon rises after midnight local time and sets later that same day.

   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?”

   
   
   

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.


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May Moon at Descending Node

   Wednesday May 22nd the Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.
   On the day of the node crossing the 17.5-day old waning gibbous Moon will be 5-7o to the west from the ringed planet Saturn. The following day, May 23rd, the 18.5-day old waning gibbous Moon will have orbited to the east side of Saturn passing within 5-6o.


   
   
   
   
   

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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Moon – Jupiter Conjunction

   Late Monday evening May 20th the 15-day old waning gibbous Moon will be within about 3-4o from the outer ringed planet Jupiter, and about 8-9o from Antares, the ‘heart’ of Scorpius the Scorpion. Jupiter and the Moon will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars. Jupiter is currently located within the boundaries of the constellation of Ophiuchus the Healer, the 13th constellation of the Astronomical zodiac.

   
   
   

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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Moon – Ceres Conjunction

   Sunday morning May 19th the 15-day old waning gibbous Moon will be within 2-3o from Dwarf Planet Ceres. Considering that Ceres currently is a dim 6.8 apparent magnitude, and is that close to a just past full Moon, the chances of seeing Ceres are basically non-existent. However the reddish star Antares, down to the left from the Moon and Ceres, is visible. And over the next few days the Moon, as it wanes, will pass by Jupiter, then Saturn.

   
   
   

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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