Uranus at 2018 Opposition

view-from-uranus   Wednesday October 24th the outer planet Uranus reaches a position in its orbit around the Sun when it is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. This coincidentally is known as opposition, and it is an orbital position which only the planets further from the Sun than the Earth may reach.

   On Wednesday evening shortly after sunset local Uranus will be just above the eastern horizon a few degrees west from the full Moon. This graphic includes the ecliptic to show how the planets orbit the Sun within a few degrees from the ecliptic.
   
   
   
   
   
   

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International Observe the Moon Night

   Saturday October 20th is International Observe the Moon Night. That evening the 12-day old waxing gibbous Moon rises around 5 pm local time and will be over the southeast horizon during the evening hours. Joining the Moon are several planets – all located to the west, right, from the Moon. Early, shortly after sunset the inner planet Mercury will be just above the western horizon. Moving east from Mercury is Jupiter, then Saturn, then Mars. The planet Neptune is only a few degrees above the Moon but because of the Moon’s reflected light Neptune will not be visible.

   
   
   

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 Passes Mars

   Over the next 2 evenings, Wednesday October 17th and Thursday the 18th the waxing gibbous Moon will be passing the planet Mars coming within about 2-3o from Mars.


   
   
   

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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Crescent Moon Near Jupiter, Then Near Antares

   The next two evenings watch for the waxing crescent Moon to move past Jupiter on the 11th, then pass near the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion on the 12th.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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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Saturn at East Quadrature – 2018

   Tuesday September 25th the position of the planet Saturn with respect to the Earth and the Sun places this ringed planet at what is called eastern quadrature. Saturn is at a 90 degree angle from us as this graphic shows. Think first quarter Moon as that is a fair comparison of the relative positions. At this position Saturn follows the Sun across the sky from east to west as the Earth is rotating, meaning that Saturn rises after the Sun and sets after the Sun.

   Where is Saturn now? Saturn is over the southern to southwestern horizon at sunset and is east (to the left) from the reddish star Antares in the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. Further toward the west is the planet Jupiter, and to the east from Saturn is the planet Mars. And the 16-day old waning gibbous is above the eastern horizon.


   Saturn currently has a 0.47 apparent magnitude and is centered on the Milky Way within about 2o from a few easy to see Messier Objects. These include M-21 a 7th magnitude open star cluster; 5th magnitude M-8, the Lagoon Nebula; and 5th magnitude M-20, the Trifid Nebula.

   
   
   Learn a little (or a lot) more about Saturn by visiting the Cassini at Saturn mission web site. Click here to go to the Cassini Mission web site.

   This is a short 5 minute video I made as part of a live musical performance called “Orbit” that I was part of in May 2011. This is a piece from the much longer tour of the solar system performance and video and shows Saturn and some of its moons as viewed from the Cassini spacecraft that 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.


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A Busy Moon: Apogee; Descending Node; Mars Conjunction

   Thursday September 20th the waxing gibbous 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.

   Our Moon also reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Thursday September 20th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.74 Earth diameters (361,354 km or 224,535 miles) from the Earth.

   On the evening of the apogee and node crossing the 11-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be over the southeast horizon at sunset in conjunction with the ‘Red Planet’, passing within 10-11o east from the planet Mars. Joining the Moon and Mars are the planets Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus – all to the west from the Moon and Mars.

   
   
   

   

   
   
   

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 in Conjunction with Mars

   Wednesday evening September 19th the 10-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be in conjunction with the outer planet Mars passing within about 3-4o from Mars. Should look good through binoculars.
   Look westward for the planets Saturn and 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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