August Moon at Ascending Node

aug17-ascending-node   On Monday August 17th our 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.

   On Monday evening the 3.5 day young waxing crescent Moon will be setting about 1-2 hours after the Sun sets. The planet Mercury, ‘down to the right’ may be visible as well as the blue-white star Spica ‘up to the left’.

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.

July Moon at Descending Node

july8-descending-node   Wednesday July 8th at 00:09 UT, (Tuesday July 7th 7:09 pm CDT), our 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.

   The Moon is currently in its waning phases and is a few hours away from its last quarter phase. At sunrise local time watch for the Moon to be over the southern horizon, or the northern horizon if viewing from the southern hemisphere.

   
   
   
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.

May Moon at Ascending Node (again)

may1-ascending-node   On Thursday May 26st at 14:42 UT (9:42 am CDT) our Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is 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.

   
   
   
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.

Moon at Descending Node

apr17-descending-node   Thursday May 14th at 20:39 UT, (3:39 pm CDT), our 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.
   The Moon is currently in its waning phases and is a few days away from New Moon. The thin waning crescent Moon is conveniently lined up with the left side the Square of Pegasus, an asterism formed with three stars from the constellation Pegasus the Winged Horse, and one star from the constellation Andromeda the Princess.

   
   
   
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.

May Moon at Ascending Node

may1-ascending-node   On Friday May 1st at 9:51 UT (4:51 am CDT) our Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is 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.

   
   
   
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.

April 17 Moon at Descending Node

apr17-descending-node   Friday April 17th at 13:06 UT, (8:13 am CDT), our 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.
   The Moon reaches new phase more than 24 hours after it makes the node crossing. Had this been closer to the time of the node crossing we could have had an lunar eclipse. This was the situation last month for the total lunar eclipse.

   
   
   
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.

Moon at Descending Node

25jandescending_node   Saturday March 21st at 02:17 UT, (8:17 pm CST Friday March 20th), our 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.
   The Moon will be crossing the descending node about 17 hours after new Moon Phase and a solar eclipse.

   
   
   
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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.

March Perigee Moon

19mar-perigee    Our Moon orbits around the Sun with the Earth and 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*.

19mar   The 28.5-day old very thin waning crescent Moon reaches perigee this month on Thursday February 19th at 19:30 UT (1:30 pm CST). At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.03 Earth diameters (357,584 km or 222,192 miles) from the Earth.

   This Moon is only 14 hours from its new phase and a solar eclipse.

   *Click here to read my 2006 Scope on the Sky column “The Real Shape of the Moon’s Orbit”. (PDF)

   
   
   
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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.

March Ascending Node

feb8-ascending-node

On Saturday March 7th our Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic. The ecliptic is 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.

The waning gibbous Moon rises a few hours before midnight local time and is visible the rest of the night hours.
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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.

February Ascending Moon

feb8-ascending-node   On Sunday February 8th our Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. This is known as the ascending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.

   The waning gibbous Moon rises around midnight local time and is easily seen over the western horizon at sunrise. Jupiter sets around the time of sunrise so it, and the star Regulus in Leo the Lion will still be above the western horizon and visible as this graphic shows.

   
   
   
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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.