Taurus Takes It On The Chin!


   Friday evening March 31st the 4-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 4o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the open star cluster The Hyades. This open star cluster has a noticeable v-shape and from mythology the v-shape is the face of Taurus the Bull. Over the course of several hours as the Moon continues moving eastward along its orbit the Moon will pass across the v-shape and will be less than one-half degree from Aldebaran.
   
   
   
click on animated graphic to see it larger
   From my longitude this part of the sky will have set but observers in parts of north Africa, India, and that part of the world may be able to see an occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon. This animated graphic shows the Moon’s motion from 9 pm CDT 31 March to 5 am CDT 1 April (2 UT 1 April to 9 UT 1 April).
   
   
   
   
   

   The point of the v-shape is the bull’s nose while the two stars at the open end, Aldebaran and Epsilon Taurus mark the bull’s eyes. To the right, west, from the Moon is another open star cluster The Pleiades.

   
   
   

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 the Hyades -Occultation of Aldebaran


   Friday July 29th the waning crescent Moon will pass very close by the star Aldebaran in the open star cluster The Hyades, part of the constellation of Taurus the Bull. For most this will be a fine sight with binoculars or through the eyepiece of a telescope as the Moon traverses the v-shape of the Hyades.

aldebaran-occultation-ani   Depending on your location the Moon will occult, pass in front of, Aldebaran. At my location of 94oW longitude the 25-day old waning crescent Moon rises around 2:30am CDT and by around 4:15 am CDT or so the Moon will start occulting Aldebaran. The end of the occultation for my location happens after sunrise and when the sky brightens too much to see the stars of the Hyades or Aldebaran.

   
   
   

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.

Waxing Crescent Moon Passes Jupiter


   Over the next two days, July 8th and 9th, the waxing crescent Moon will pass by the planet Jupiter as this animated graphic shows. For most of us around the world we will see (weather permitting!) the Moon come within a few degrees from Jupiter on the 9th.
   However if you happen to be in the area of Southern Africa or the island of Madagascar you will be able to see an occultation of Jupiter by 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.

Our Moon and Neptune

   Between Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th the waning gibbous Moon will pass close by the outermost of the 8 known planets, Neptune. Depending on your longitude you may see an occultation of Neptune by the Moon. From my location of about 94o west the Moon will pass by Neptune coming as close as around 5o as this graphic shows.
click on animated graphic to see it larger   However observers viewing from the western side of Europe will either see the occultation or see a very close conjunction between the Moon, the star Lambda Aquarii, and Neptune.

25 mm eyepiece   Neptune has an apparent magnitude of nearly 8.0 making it not visible to the naked eye, but certainly within the reach of even moderate sized telescopes.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Moon-Planets In Conjunction

   Thursday and Friday the 8th and 9th take a look toward the eastern horizon around 6:30 am your local time – about an hour before the Sun rises. In addition to the four planet line-up (Mercury-Jupiter-Mars-Venus) on the 8th the thin 25.5 day old waning crescent will be close to the planet Venus. As seen from my location at about 40o North and 94o West the two will be about 2o apart while in other parts of the world, at 21 UT, the Moon will occult (pass in front) of Venus. This is visible from the South Pacific near New Zealand and Australia.
    Then on the morning of the 9th the even thinner 26.5 day old waning crescent Moon will be about 2o from Mars and about 3o from Jupiter. The two graphics below are set for 6 am CDT when the sky is bit darker than around 6:30 when Mercury becomes 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.

Moon Near Uranus

28dec-eyepiece   Saturday evening December 28th the 7-day old first quarter Moon is within about 1o from the outer planet Uranus as viewed from my latitude and longitude. However from the right location this will be a lunar occultation of Uranus. That would include parts of Japan, northeastern Russia, Arctic Ocean, northern Canada, and Alaska.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

While Uranus is too dim to be seen with the naked-eye in most light polluted skies you can at least see the first quarter Moon.

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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.