December Moon at Perigee


   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance from Earth), for this orbit on Monday November 4th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.025 Earth diameters (367,492 km or 222,135 miles) from the Earth. This is approximately 17 hours after full Moon making this full Moon the year’s Super Moon.
   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*


   On the day of the perigee Moon the 16.5-day old waning gibbous Moon is above the eastern horizon about 1 hour after sunset local time. The Moon is located just east of Orion’s club and Orion appears to be swinging his club as if it were a baseball bat toward the Moon – but missed. Strike One!!.

   *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.

Orion Rising, but Not Before Me!

   So what do most people do if they wake up at 2:30 am on a Sunday morning and can’t get back to sleep? Since this is a day off for many it means making an effort to get back to sleep for more time sleeping or staying in bed.
   What did I do?
   I gave up, got up, and let the dogs out (yeah, that answers that question!), and while they were out doing their morning business, albeit much earlier then they normally do, I checked the skies to see if they were clear. They were so then I thought if the skies are clear and I am already up, what can I see or what could I do?
   The result this morning are two versions of using images taken during a time-lapse sequence. The two pictures below are based on a taking 1 picture every minute (3:50 am CDT to 4:52 am CDT) for 61-minutes.
   The star trails picture is of the stars of Orion, and the general area surrounding Orion, rising above the treeline on the southeast side of my backyard. In making the star trails image I purposely skipped a couple of the pictures after the first one. This makes the stars of Orion more distinctive and easier to see. Not sure about the red streak as that was only in one picture.
   As I was aiming the camera and trying settings I happened to catch a few shots of a passing airplane. It’s flashing lights and the ‘always on’ lights make a distinctive pattern. Since these images were taken sort of at the same time, or at least within a a few seconds, it was possible to stack them without showing star trails.
   Camera particulars: Canon Rebel T7i; 18mm; f/4; 4 sec.; ISO-1600

   
   
   

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.

Thin Waning Crescent Moon in Conjunction with Venus


   Thursday morning July 20th watch for the thin 26-day old waning crescent Moon to be within 2-3o from the inner planet Venus as both rise a couple of hours before sunrise. The reddish star Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull will be about 10o from the Moon.
   Venus and the Moon will fit nicely within 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.

3 Mornings With the ISS

   A favorite pastime of mine is to watch the International Space Station orbit over my part of the world and when possible capture the flyover on film.
   This picture is from Wednesday September 21st and is a time lapse consisting of about 80 separate pictures stacked together and processed as one picture.
    The dashed line is the reflected light from the ISS and each dash represents 2.5 seconds of travel. The camera was more or less centered on Polaris, above the chimney, so as the Earth rotated stars around Polaris moved and the curved lines show the apparent circumpolar path they follow.
   Thursday morning as I was walking my dog prior to leaving for work I spotted the ISS and whipped out my cellphone and captured some of its flight as a short video. The shaky motion comes from holding onto a 65 lb. dog on a leash with one hand and the cellphone in my other hand.
Click here to see the calculated path as done by the Heavens-Above web site.

   This morning I set up for a time lapse series as I did on Wednesday. With large trees as my southern horizon this flyover past the constellation of Orion and the bright star Sirius was sort of a challenge. This is a series of 10 pictures stacked to show as one picture.
Click here to see the calculated path as done by the Heavens-Above web site.

   Camera settings for all pictures: 18mm; f4.5; ISO 1600; 2.5 sec.

   A shout-out to Mrs. Soukup’s online Astronomy students.

   
   
   

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.

29 Minutes In 41 Seconds


   This morning I had plans for making a time-lapse video of Orion rising with the ISS (International Space Station) passing by Orion’s left shoulder, the star Bellatrix. However my plans took a somewhat familiar turn (not rotation) as clouds moved in during the 29 minutes my camera was set up. But then as ‘they’ say, “patience is rewarded by clearing skies”, or something like that! So despite the camera not being properly focused and some clouds the ISS was very visible as it orbited nearly overhead.
   All 273 pictures were taken at the same settings: lens 18mm; 2.5 sec; F4; ISO 800.
   The ISS will appear toward the end of the video as a series of white dash lines.


   
   
   

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.

Orion Takes a Swing!

orion-ani

    This evening, October 30th the 18-day old Waning gibbous Moon will be located near the club held overhead by Orion. Looking like Orion may swing at the Moon and make a good hit – as they say. This is a fitting tribute, at least I think so, to the incredible batting of the Kansas City Royal‘s baseball team – now in New York City with a 2-0 record for games 3-5 of the World Series against the New York Mets.

   
   
   
   
   
   

               Let’s Go Royals!!               

   
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Leo with Planets, Orion and ISS

   The three morning planets this morning at 6 am CDT. Compare the separation between Mars and Regulus this morning with my pictures from 2 days ago and you can get an idea of how much Mars moves daily as it orbits the Sun.
   Camera settings were 18mm; ISO 1600; f5.0; 6 seconds.

   This morning was also special as the International Space Station was going to pass over my part of the world at about the same time. The path the ISS followed took it from the west-northwest to the southeast and it reached a brightness that outshone one of the brighter stars of Orion, Rigel, and also the brightest night time star, Sirius.
   Camera settings were 18mm; ISO 1600; f5.0; 4 seconds. This is a stacked picture using 3 separate pictures.

   
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.