Dance of the Planets Continues

   In a previous post I described how the two inner planets, Mercury and Venus, and an outer planet, Mars, will be visible over the eastern horizon in the hour or so before the Sun rises. Given their respective orbital speeds the three planets will interact with one another in a series of conjunctions that at times will include the star Regulus in Leo the Lion.
   Once again facing east along 50 Highway at around 6 am CDT with early morning traffic just starting to increase. Still dealing with haze and low clouds, some of which are remnants of Hurricane Irma.

   
   
   

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.

Triangulating with the Moon

   Tuesday morning, August 15th the 23-day old first quarter Moon will be the point of a celestial triangle with the two open star clusters, the Pleiades, and the Hyades as this graphic shows. The v-shaped Hyades forms the face of Taurus the Bull while the ‘dipper-shaped’ Pleiades lies along the Bull’s shoulder. Both open star clusters are about 8o from 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.

February Apogee Moon

18mar-apogee_moon Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Saturday February 18th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.70 Earth diameters (404,650 km or 251,438 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 as they both rotate around a common balance point, the barycenter.*

*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 21-day old last quarter Moon rises a couple of hours before the Sun and is visible over the southern horizon before sunrise.

   
   
   

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 Near Jupiter and Spica


   Thursday January 19th morning several hours before sunrise local time the last quarter Moon will be within a few degrees from Jupiter and the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.
This graphic simulates a view using 10×50 binoculars.


   
   
   

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 Passes Gas


   Over the next couple of nights, December 21st to 22nd the last quarter Moon will pass by the gas planet Jupiter coming within about 2o at 18 UT (12 pm CST) on the 22nd. The Moon rises around 2-3 hours after midnight local time and is over the southeastern horizon in the hour or so before sunrise.

   
   
   

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 Near Aldebaran

Thursday morning August 25th watch for the last quarter Moon to be either close to the star Aldebaran or occulting Aldebaran – depending on your location. This occultation will be visible from around Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean toward the southern United States of America and Estados Unidos de Mexico.
   Aldebaran is the reddish and brightest star in the constellation of Taurus the Bull and from mythology Aldebaran represents the angry eye of the bull. Aldebaran is also part of the v-shaped group of stars forming the face of the bull, and this group of stars, the Hyades, is also an open star cluster – a group of stars clustered together by their respective gravitational forces. The Pleiades, looking like a small dipper, is another nearby open star cluster and part of the Taurus constellation.

   
   
   

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.

July Perigee Moon #2

   The Moon reaches perigee, (minimum distance from Earth), this month on Wednesday July 27th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.98 Earth diameters (369,662 km or 229,697 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*


On the morning of the 27th the thin 23-day old last quarter Moon rises around midnight local time, and is west from the open star cluster the Pleiades.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   *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.