Sun Enters Virgo

view_from_earth   Monday September 17th the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation of Leo the Lion and into the constellation of Virgo the Harvest Maiden. 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.
   In a couple of days the Sun, according to astrology, will cross the ecliptic moving southward crossing from Virgo into the constellation of Libra the Scales. We know this day as the September equinox, which this year is on the 23rd.

   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.

   
   
   

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 Jupiter


   Thursday evening September 13th the 4.5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be 4-5o from the outer planet Jupiter. Joining the Moon and Jupiter are the planets Venus, Saturn, and Mars.
   Jupiter, the Moon, and Zubenelgenubi, a star in Libra the Scales, will all easily fit within the field of view of 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.


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Moon in Conjunction with Jupiter

   Over the next two evenings, Thursday August 16th, the waxing crescent Moon, and Friday the 17th, the first quarter Moon will pass within about 7-8o from the outer planet Jupiter. Jupiter with a -2.0 apparent magnitude, is about 0.5o from the 2.7 apparent magnitude star Zubenelgenubi in Libra the Scales.

   Joining the Moon and Jupiter are the planets Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Dwarf Planet Ceres.

   
   
   

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 Jupiter

click on graphic to see it larger
   Saturday June 23rd the 10-day old waxing gibbous Moon will come within about 4-5o from the giant ringed planet Jupiter. About 1-2o from Jupiter is the 3rd magnitude star Zubenelgenubi, one of the stars of Libra the Scales.

   
   
   

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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

Jupiter Backs Up!

   Friday March 9th the outer ringed planet Jupiter stops its regular direct motion to the east and begins to move in retrograde toward the west. Retrograde motion for any planet further from the Sun then the Earth, that we observe from Earth, is an apparent motion of that planet caused by the faster moving Earth along its orbital path. As the Earth catches up and passes an outer planet that planet appears to move toward the west. Depending on the planet the retrograde motion may last a few weeks or months. Jupiter will be within the boundaries of the constellation Libra the Scales.

   Jupiter along with Mars and Saturn all rise before sunrise local time and the morning skies on March 9th the 21-day old last quarter Moon will be about 7o from the ‘red planet’ Mars.

   Follow the planet by way of its coordinates using just right ascension with the free equatorial star chart from Stephen F. Austin University.

Date Right Ascension
(Hours – Minutes)
June 5            14 52
June 15         14 48
June 25         14 46
July 5            14 45
July 15            14 44
July 25            14 46
August 4          14 48
August 14         14 51
August 24         14 55
September 3      15 00

   
   
   

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.

Sun Enters Libra

310ct-view-from-earth   Sunday October 30th the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Virgo the Harvest Maiden and into the constellation of Libra the Scales. 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.
   
   
   
   
   

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.

2016 September Equinox

   On Thursday September 22nd at 14:21 UT, (9:21 am CDT) the Sun will have reached the astronomical coordinates of 0 degrees declination and 12 hours of right ascension, or RA. This places the Sun within the boundaries of the constellation Virgo the Maiden, or as some would say, “the Sun is in Virgo.” This is the actual position of the Astronomical Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which has the astrological Sun entering the constellation of Libra the Scales.
   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.
   Declination is the astronomical equivalent to latitude measuring from 0 degrees at the equator to 90 degrees at either pole. Right ascension, or RA, is like longitude except that there is only east RA. The globe is divided into 24 sections, and like meridians of longitude, these hour circles are 15 degrees wide at the celestial equator and taper to a ‘point’ at the north and south pole respectively. In RA the ‘hour’ circles are counted from 0 hours to 23 hours. The 0 hour circle is at the intersection of the ecliptic and the celestial equator in the constellation of Pisces the Fishes.
   In a class lesson about seasons today would be one of the two days during the year when the Sun would be described as being over the Earth’s equator. If you were at the Earth’s equator the Sun would have an altitude of 90 degrees, or straight up in your sky at your local time for midday. At that moment there would not be a shadow. However at any other latitude, north or south at midday, the Sun would be at an angle less than 90 degrees and there would be a midday shadow. (Midday is the local time when the Sun is halfway between local rising time and local setting time. At any midday the Sun is at its maximum altitude above the southern horizon in the northern hemisphere, or is at its maximum altitude above the northern horizon in the southern hemisphere.)
   What is often noted about an equinox day is the reminder that equinox means equal night as a reference to there being equal amounts of daylight, and night. Also on an equinox day the Sun would rise due east and set due west for virtually everywhere on the globe. The times for sunrise and sunset would be approximately 12 hours apart, and the rising time would be around 6 am local time, and the setting time would be around 6 pm local time.

Hola Moon doh

Hola ‘Moo’ndo! Think Globally.

   So why “September Equinox” instead of using the more familiar “Fall Equinox”. Primarily because the southern hemisphere is also changing seasons on this day however for the southern hemisphere this is the start of their spring season. Despite the opposite seasons it is somewhat of a northern hemisphere bias that traditionally we would call this day the “Autumnal or Fall Equinox”, and in March we would say the “Spring” or “Vernal Equinox”. I favor the use of the name of the month so that regardless of which hemisphere it is just simply the March equinox or the September equinox, and by extension we would also have the June solstice and the December solstice..
   
   This short video shows students at Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito, a school in Quito Ecuador, measuring the altitude of the sun hourly on the day of the 2004 September Equinox. They were taking part in Project SunShIP, Sun Shadow Investigation Project. There are also some pictures showing a local midday shadow from other participating schools in the United States and U.K.

   
   
   

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.