Saturday morning November 11th the 23-day old waning crescent Moon will be about 0.5o from Regulus, the ‘heart’ of Leo the Lion. Both will fit comfortably within the field of view of binoculars.
Sunday morning October 15th the 25-day old waning crescent Moon will be less than 0.5o from the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. This should make for a great view with binoculars or a low-power telescope eyepiece.
This morning the inner planet Venus and the ‘heart of the lion’, the star Regulus were about 0.5o from each other. Lower near the horizon and emerging from the mornning cloud layer is the other inner planet Mercury, and just above and fainter the planet Mars.
Camera particulars: Canon Rebel T7i; 27 mm; ISO-800; f/5.6; 8 sec.
The ‘dancing’ continues.
Wednesday morning September 20th the inner planet Venus and the star Regulus will be about 0.5 o from each other in a very close conjunction. Venus is shining at an apparent magnitude of 3.9 while Regulus, the ‘heart of the lion’ has an apparent magnitude of 1.4. Both will fit within the field of view of binoculars as well as a low power or wide-field telescope eyepiece.
Look a bit lower toward the horizon for two more planets, the innermost planet Mercury, and the ‘Red Planet’ Mars.
The ‘dancing’ continues.
Monday morning September 18th there will be a ‘solar system cluster’ (for lack of another term!), in the hour or so before the Sun rises.
Look eastward for three planets (Venus, Mars, Mercury), the 27.5-day old thin waning crescent Moon, and the star Regulus in the constellation Leo the Lion.
The Moon is situated between Venus and Mars and Mercury such that you are able to see the Moon and Venus within one field of view with binoculars, and by shifting your view lower then be able to see the Moon with Mars and Mercury within that field of view.
Sunday September 17th the waning crescent 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 September 17th the thin 26.5-day old waning crescent Moon will be within the constellation of Leo the Lion. The Moon will be located about 6o from Venus, and about 9o from the heart of the Lion, the star Regulus. A few more degrees further east from Venus and Regulus (below, as they rise in the morning), is the ‘Red Planet’ Mars, and nearby is the innermost planet Mercury.
These two planets are close enough for both to be seen in the field of view of binoculars.
Does our Moon actually go around the Earth as many graphics show? 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*
Read this very informative article about the Earth-Moon system and their orbital motions, written by Joe Hanson. “Do We Orbit the Moon?”
This morning I set up my camera looking eastward along Highway 50. With city lights behind me, ‘Auto Row’ down the road, and a 19-day old waning gibbous Moon high over my right shoulder the sky was not really that dark. However pictures of visible planets and stars do not always have to be under dark skies or good seeing conditions. Adding to that were the low clouds along the horizon.
This graphic shows the sky I had plans for imaging this morning, including Dwarf Planet Ceres near Pollux in the Gemini Twins. Plans had been to capture Mercury in conjunction with the star Regulus (check), and also Mars which this morning was closer to the horizon below Mercury (no check!). In the next few days Mars will be higher and easier to include in the group picture. Higher above the horizon and very bright with a -3.95 apparent magnitude was Venus.