Waxing Crescent Moon Near Spica

   Wednesday evening August 15th the 4.5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 7o from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.
   In addition to the Moon are five planets spread out from west to east – Dwarf Planet Ceres, and the planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

   
   
   

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Let the Moon Lead the Way


   Over the next 10 days, from August 13th to the 23rd, the Moon will move eastward, as it always does, following the ecliptic and interacting with planets and stars near the ecliptic.
   
   
   
               click on any graphic below to view each of the graphics full sized.

   
   
   

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 Near Venus

   Monday evening August 13th the thin 2.5-day young waxing crescent Moon will be about 10o from the inner planet Venus, and about 8o from the Dwarf Planet Ceres. However at 8th magnitude Ceres will be not be naked-eye visible, but Venus at a -4.6 apparent magnitude will be hard to miss!
   And spread out from west to east are the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

   
   
   

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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August Perigee Moon at Ascending Node, and a Partial Solar Eclipse

   Friday August 10th the 28.5 day old waning crescent 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.

   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*

*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?”

Perigee Moon
   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit on Friday August 10th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.07 Earth diameters (358,100 km or 222,513 miles) from the Earth. The Moon will also be 28.5 days old, and only 15.8 hours from new Moon Phase.
    When the time of perigee is close to a node crossing there will be either a lunar or solar eclipse. In this case less then 24 hours after the node crossing there will be a partial solar eclipse. This solar eclipse is only visible from Arctic, Greenland and parts of Asia.

   
   
   

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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Taurus Noses the Moon

   Monday morning August 6th the 24-day old waning crescent Moon will be about 4o from the reddish star Aldebaran, part of the open star cluster the Hyades. This v-shaped cluster of stars marks the face of Taurus the Bull, and Aldebaran represents the red ‘angry’ eye of Taurus.

   
   
   

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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Mars at Opposition – 2018

Mars at Opposition   Friday July 27th Mars will reach a point in its orbit around the Sun where it is at opposition relative to the Earth. at opposition The Earth is between the Sun and Mars, or any of the outer planets. At opposition both the Earth and the planet at opposition will have near identical heliocentric longitude. The opposition of Mars sometimes happens around the time that Mars is at its respective perihelion, closest to the Sun. If opposition happens during or near when the Earth is at its respective aphelion, furthest from the Sun, (first few days of July) then Mars will appear larger relative to when these dates are further apart.

What is opposition?
orbital-positions   The outer planets reach opposition when the Earth has moved into a position with the Sun on one side and the outer planet on the other side. Because all planets orbit in the same direction (toward the east), and all follow orbits that are slightly more elliptical than circular, oppositions occur at regular intervals of about 12 months (except for Mars). Mars is considerably closer to Earth and is moving faster than the other outer planets, so it takes approximately 26 months for Earth to catch up with Mars for an opposition.

   
   
   

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-Saturn Conjunction

   Tuesday evening July 24th the 12-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be within about 2o from the planet Saturn. To west from Saturn is the planet Jupiter and further west over the southwestern horizon is the inner planet Venus. To the east from Saturn is Dwarf Planet Pluto and just rising in the east is the planet Mars.

   The two, Moon and Saturn, should make a fine sight through binoculars or a low power wide-field telescope eyepiece. They are located in an area of the Milky Way rich with deep-sky objects like M-8, the Lagoon Nebula. Unfortunately the reflected light from the Moon drowns out the dimmer deep-sky objects. However a few days from now the Moon will be rising later and will not interfere with seeing some of these objects.

   
   
   

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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