Our Moon reaches apogee, (furthest from Earth), for this orbit, on Saturday October 3rd. For this apogee the 16-day old waning gibbous Moon will be at a distance of 31.85 Earth diameters, 252,463 miles (406,300 km) from the Earth.
On the date of the apogee the 16-day old waning gibbous Moon will be about 1-2o to the east from the planet Mars and both very visible through the night hours, and shining brightly over the western horizon at sunrise.
Our Moon and Mars should make for an interesting view with binoculars but considering the difference in apparent brightness (Moon: -12.6 vs Mars: -2.52) the Moon’s reflected sunlight will ‘drown out’ Mars. On the other hand, or direction, Venus is still close to the ‘heart of the Lion’ the star Regulus. Venus is unmistakable with an apparent magnitude -4.07 of compared to the 1.34 apparent magnitude of Regulus.
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)
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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