July Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), for this orbit, on Sunday July 21st. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 31.79 Earth diameters 251,954 miles (405,480 km) from the Earth.

   On the day of the apogee Moon the 19-day old waning gibbous Moon rises around midnight local time and sets later the following morning.

   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as this graphic shows? 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?”

   
   
   

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.


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Waning Crescent Moon Passes Uranus

   Thursday and Friday mornings before the Sun rises look toward the eastern horizon for the 24-day old waning crescent Moon to be within about 8-9o to the west from the outer ringed planet Uranus on Thursday the 27th, and about 7-8o from Uranus but now to the east on Friday the 28th.


   Uranus has an apparent magnitude 5.84 which technically makes it naked-eye visible (in dark skies) however nearby is the thin waning crescent Moon outshining Uranus with a -11.00 apparent magnitude. Worth mentioning but not naked eye visible is the outermost of the 8 planets, Neptune, with a 7.90 apparent magnitude.

   
   
   

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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June Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), for this orbit, on Sunday June 23rd. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 31.71 Earth diameters 251,374 miles (404,548 km) from the Earth.

   The 20-day old waning gibbous Moon rises around midnight local time and sets later that same day.

   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as this graphic shows? 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?”

   
   
   

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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

Moon – Uranus Conjunction

   Friday May 31st the 26.5-day old waning crescent Moon will be within about 4o from the outer ringed planet Uranus. Both rise around 1 hour before sunrise local time. The waning crescent Moon and Uranus will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars.
   However with two distinctly different apparent magnitudes (Moon -10.0 and Uranus 6.80) seeing Uranus will be a challenge compared to the much brighter Moon. Even more dimmer is the dwarf planet Ceres (apparent magnitude 18.67) located about 11o west from the crescent 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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May Moon at Descending Node

   Wednesday May 22nd the Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.
   On the day of the node crossing the 17.5-day old waning gibbous Moon will be 5-7o to the west from the ringed planet Saturn. The following day, May 23rd, the 18.5-day old waning gibbous Moon will have orbited to the east side of Saturn passing within 5-6o.


   
   
   
   
   

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 – Jupiter Conjunction

   Tuesday morning April 23rd the 18-day old waning Gibbous Moon will be in a close conjunction with Jupiter as the two are separated by about 1o. The two should make for an interesting view as they both will very easily fit within the field of view of 7×50 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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The Moon and a Dwarf Planet

   Monday morning April 22nd, before the Sun rises, look toward the south-southwest for the 17-day old waning gibbous Moon. While the Moon is obviously easy to see at a -12.60 apparent magnitude, the nearby, (2-3o), dwarf planet Ceres with an apparent magnitude of 6.90 is outshined by the Moon and is not visible.
   As this graphic shows all of the naked-eye visible planets except Mars are arranged from west to east above the horizon. While not naked eye visible Neptune, with an apparent magnitude of 7.94, is also shown. This arrangement of planets then offers an opportunity to visualize the plane of the ecliptic, the Earth’s orbit extended onto the sky. The plane of the ecliptic is one of the primary frames of reference for our solar system, and one of the things the other 7 planets have in common is that their respective orbits are all within about 7o from the plane of the ecliptic. Even our Moon stays within about 6o from the ecliptic.
   
   
   

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.