Mars – Mercury Conjunction

   Monday evening June 17th the ‘Red Planet’ Mars and the innermost planet Mercury will be at a fairly close conjunction, separated by only about 0.5o. The two planets will be about 5-6o from Pollux, one of the stars of the Gemini Twins. Both planets will nicely fit within the field of view of binoculars or a wide field eyepiece on a telescope.

   
   
   

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Moon – Regulus Conjunction

   Friday June 8th the 5.60-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within about 2o from Regulus, the star marking the heart of Leo the Lion. Both will be visible high over the southern horizon at sunset local time.

   
   
   

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Waxing Crescent Moon Near Beehive Cluster

   Thursday evening June 6th the 3.70-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within about 4o from the open star cluster M-44, or more commonly known as the “Beehive Cluster”. Despite the crescent Moon’s apparent magnitude of -10.0 it should be possible to still see the Beehive Cluster dimly ‘glowing’ with its 3.50 apparent magnitude in 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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Waxing Crescent Moon – Mercury Conjunction

click on graphic to see it larger   Tuesday evening June 4th the thin 1.5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be over the north western horizon around sunset local time, and will be about 4-5o from the innermost planet Mercury. The planet Mars is also visible and is about 8-9o east (above to the left) 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.


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Mercury at Superior Conjunction

orbital-positions   Tuesday May 21st the innermost planet Mercury reaches superior conjunction. At superior conjunction Mercury will be on the opposite side of the Sun. The graphic to the right shows the planet positions relative to the Earth and Sun for both inner planets and outer planets.

   While at this superior conjunction Mercury will not be directly in line with the Earth and the Sun – on the ecliptic. Mercury has an orbital inclination of 7o with respect to the ecliptic. So like our Moon, Mercury during each complete orbit, will cross the plane of the ecliptic moving north (ascending node) and also moving south (descending node). For this superior conjunction Mercury had just crossed the ecliptic moving north.
   

   
   
   

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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Waning Crescent Moon – Venus Conjunction

   Wednesday and Thursday mornings, May 1st and 2nd the 26 to 27-day old thin waning crescent Moon will pass by the inner planet Venus coming the closest on the 27th when the two will be separated by about 3-4o. A day later, Friday, the very thin waning crescent Moon will be near Mercury and the outer planet Uranus, but the Sun will be less than 45 minutes behind them – meaning the sky may be too bright to see the Moon or Mercury.
   Further to the west the outer planets Saturn and Jupiter are visible in the area around Sagittarius and Scorpius. Even a bit further west is the closest Dwarf Planet to the Earth, former asteroid 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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April Moon at 2nd Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Sunday April 28th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.85 Earth diameters 251,392 miles (404,577 km) from the Earth.

Does our Moon actually go around the Earth? 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 day of the apogee the 24-day old waning crescent Moon will be over the southeastern horizon 1-2 hours before sunrise local time.

*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 return to bobs-spaces.


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