Sun Not in Scorpius

  According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Scorpio the Scorpion on Tuesday October 23nd. When in fact the actual position of the Sun is still within the boundaries of the constellation of Virgo the Harvest Maiden.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.

   
   
   

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.


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Moon Passes Mars

   Over the next 2 evenings, Wednesday October 17th and Thursday the 18th the waxing gibbous Moon will be passing the planet Mars coming within about 2-3o from Mars.


   
   
   

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.


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October Moon at Apogee and at Descending Node

   Wednesday October 17th the 9-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be crossing 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.
   Also on the same day the waxing gibbous Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Wednesday October 17th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.69 Earth diameters, (251,175 miles (404,227 km), from the Earth.

   

   
   
   

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.


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October Moon at Perigee

   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit on Friday October 5th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.72 Earth diameters (227,668 miles (366,396 km) from the Earth.

   Friday morning October 5th the very thin 25-day old waning crescent Moon will be about 4-5o from the star Regulus in Leo the Lion.

   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)

   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.


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October Moon at Ascending Node

   Thursday October 4th 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 the day of the node crossing the 26-day old thin waning crescent Moon will be about 1o from the open star cluster known as the ‘Beehive Cluster’, M-44. Given that the Moon has an apparent magnitude of 14.0 compared with the 4th magnitude of the Beehive Cluster it may be difficult to see the star cluster.

   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*

*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 return to bobs-spaces.


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Moon Meets the Twins


   Wednesday morning October 3rd the 23-day old waning crescent Moon will be a few degrees from Pollux and Castor, the two stars making up the head of each of the Gemini Twins.

   
   
   

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.


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Saturn at East Quadrature – 2018

   Tuesday September 25th the position of the planet Saturn with respect to the Earth and the Sun places this ringed planet at what is called eastern quadrature. Saturn is at a 90 degree angle from us as this graphic shows. Think first quarter Moon as that is a fair comparison of the relative positions. At this position Saturn follows the Sun across the sky from east to west as the Earth is rotating, meaning that Saturn rises after the Sun and sets after the Sun.

   Where is Saturn now? Saturn is over the southern to southwestern horizon at sunset and is east (to the left) from the reddish star Antares in the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. Further toward the west is the planet Jupiter, and to the east from Saturn is the planet Mars. And the 16-day old waning gibbous is above the eastern horizon.


   Saturn currently has a 0.47 apparent magnitude and is centered on the Milky Way within about 2o from a few easy to see Messier Objects. These include M-21 a 7th magnitude open star cluster; 5th magnitude M-8, the Lagoon Nebula; and 5th magnitude M-20, the Trifid Nebula.

   
   
   Learn a little (or a lot) more about Saturn by visiting the Cassini at Saturn mission web site. Click here to go to the Cassini Mission web site.

   This is a short 5 minute video I made as part of a live musical performance called “Orbit” that I was part of in May 2011. This is a piece from the much longer tour of the solar system performance and video and shows Saturn and some of its moons as viewed from the Cassini spacecraft that month.

   
   
   

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.


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