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.
[centup]
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.

   
   
   
[centup]
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   Sunday January 25th at 10:23 UT (0:23 am CST) 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.

   
   
   
   
   
   That evening, Sunday, the waxing crescent Moon will be over the western horizon below the stars of Aries the Ram. The three brightest stars form a small bent line with the brightest star, Hamal, at the top end of the line.

   
   
   
[centup]
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.

January 2015 Ascending Moon

12jan-ascending_node   On Monday January 12th 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.

   Look for the 24-day old last quarter Moon to be near the star Spica in Virgo and both to be over the southeastern horizon at sunrise local time.

   
   
   
[centup]
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.

December Perigee Moon

24dec-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*.

   The 2.8 day old waxing crescent Moon reaches perigee this month on Wednesday December 24th at 16:42 UT (10 am CST). At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.6 Earth diameters (364,797 km or 226,674 miles) from the Earth.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Wednesday evening the waxing crescent Moon is near Mars and Comet Finlay (16P).

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

   
   
   
[centup]
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 Ascending Node

16dec--ascending-node
On Tuesday December 16th 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.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Look for the 24-day old waning crescent Moon to rise a few hours before sunrise near the bright bluish-white star Spica.

[centup]
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.