Sun Not in astrological Sign of Taurus

April 20th According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Taurus the Bull on Friday April 20th. When in fact the actual position of the Sun on the 19th is still within the boundary of the constellation of Aries the Ram, as this graphic shows. Actually the Sun had just entered Aries the day before on April 19th.

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.

Sun Enters Astronomical Sign of Aries

April 19th   Thursday April 19th the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Pisces the Fishes and into the constellation of Aries the Ram. This is the true or actual position of the Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which usually has the astrological Sun one constellation ahead or east from the Astronomical Sun’s position.
   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.

Saturn, You Are So Far Away!

click on graphic to see it larger
   Tuesday April 16th the outer ringed planet will be aphelion, its furthest distance from the Sun for this particular orbit. At aphelion Saturn will be approximately 10.0657 AU (1,505,807,287 km; 935,665,269 miles) from the Sun. Sort of splitting the difference Saturn is approximately 9.722 AU (1,454,390,499 km; 903,716,358 miles) from the Earth.
   Saturn is visible over the southern horizon before sunrise local time. It is near the ‘red planet’ Mars to the east, and Saturn is east from the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion, the reddish star Antares, and even further to the west is another outer ringed planet, Jupiter.

   
   
   

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.

Waning Gibbous Moon Near Spica


   Sunday evening April 1st the waning gibbous Moon will be within about 6o from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.

   
   
   
   
   

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.

A Second Blue Moon

   Saturday evening March 31st the second full Moon of this month will be rising in the east at sunset local time. According to the popular definition for a ‘Blue Moon’ the second full Moon in a month is known as the ‘Blue Moon’. This happens about every 2.5 years with this year being a little more different in that there were two Blue Moons, the first this past January and the second Blue Moon this 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.

March Perigee Moon

   The Moon reaches perigee, (minimum distance from Earth), this month on Monday March 26th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.90 Earth diameters (369,106 km or 229352 miles) from the Earth.
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 perigee the 9.5-day old waxing gibbous Moon rises at mid-afternoon and is located between Procyon in Canis Minor and Regulus in Leo the Lion.

*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.

Mars at Western Quadrature

orbital-positions   Saturday March 24th the position of the planet Mars, with respect to the Earth and the Sun, places this planet at what is called western quadrature. At that orbital position Mars, and actually any outer planet at their respective quadrature, is at a 90 degree angle from the Earth as this graphic shows, and the banner graphic at the top of the page shows. Think last quarter Moon as that is a fair comparison of the relative positions of Earth, Sun, and Mars. At this position Mars leads the Sun across the sky from east to west as the Earth is rotating, meaning that Mars rises before the Sun.

   Saturday morning finds Mars and two other visible planets, Saturn and Jupiter, spread across the morning skies from southeast to south.

   
   
   

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.