Friday evening May 10th the 6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be ‘on top’ of the open star cluster, M-44, or the Beehive Cluster. This should make for a great viewing sight through the field of view of binoculars or telescope, and certainly would make for a striking astrophoto.
Friday November 10th the last quarter Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north relative to the ecliptic. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is actually the Earth’s orbit and the Moon’s orbit is inclined about 6o from the ecliptic. So there are two node intersections, the ascending and descending nodes.
The three are close enough for all to fit within the field of view of binoculars.
Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as many graphics show? 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*
Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”
Friday morning October 13th, in the hours before sunrise, look toward the eastern horizon for the 23-day old waning crescent Moon to be about 15o east, to the left from the star Procyon (0.37 apparent magnitude). The Moon will also be to the west, right, about 4o from the open star cluster M-44, the Beehive Cluster, and about 6o from Dwarf Planet Ceres.
Very early Sunday morning October 23rd the 22-day old last quarter Moon will be a few degrees from the open star cluster M-44, or commonly known as the ‘Beehive Cluster‘. This should make for an interesting sight with binoculars despite the reflected light from the Moon.
If you are not a late night observer but like me an early morning observer then the Moon will still be close to M-44 before sunrise. However at that time look south-southeast and high above the horizon. To the right is Procyon in Canis Minor and above the Moon are the ‘Twins’ Pollux and Castor.
Monday morning September 26th the 25-day old waning crescent Moon will be within about 5o from the open star cluster M-44, also known as the ‘Beehive Cluster‘. This is a collection of several hundred stars with a combined apparent magnitude of around 4 making it bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye.
Even in moderately light polluted skies M-44 can be seen, and seen even better when viewed with binoculars.
Thursday evening June 12th the inner planet Venus will be within less than 1o from the open star cluster M-44, or the Beehive Cluster. This is one of the closest of the open star clusters at a distance of about 500-600 light years. It contains approximately 1000 stars with a combined apparent magnitude of 3.7 meaning that it is a naked-eye visible object and certainly visible with optical aids.
A few degrees east from the Beehive Cluster is another open star cluster, M-67. This is a collection of approximately 500 stars at a distance of between 2500-3000 light years, shining with a combined apparent magnitude of around 6. At that apparent magnitude this open star cluster could be seen with the naked-eye under dark skies and certainly with visible optical aids.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.