Mars – Spica Conjunction

   Saturday morning November 9th the planet Mars will be within about 2-3o from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden. Both will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars.

   
   
   

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Waxing Crescent Moon Near Spica

   Sunday evening September 1st the 2.6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 10-11o to the west from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.

   
   
   

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Moon-Spica Conjunction

   Monday evening August 5th the 5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within about 5-6o from the blue-white star Spica over the southwestern horizon. Both will set shortly before midnight local time.
   Spica is part of the constellation Virgo the Harvest Maiden and represents a bundle of grasses, perhaps wheat, in her left hand.

   
   
   

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Saturn at Opposition – 2019

   Tuesday July 9th the outer planet Saturn reaches its orbital position known as opposition. This is a position which has the faster moving Earth passing Saturn and at opposition is centered between the outer planet and the Sun. Picture the arrangement with the Moon at full phase; Sun – Earth – Moon, and that is similar to the arrangement for Saturn at opposition.
   When an outer planet, like Saturn, reaches opposition that planet rises around local time for sunset and is visible all night.
   The 7.5-day old waning gibbous moon will be west from Saturn and a few degrees above the bluish-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden – both over the southwestern horizon. Look for the planet Jupiter and the reddish star Antares, the ‘heart’ of Scorpius the Scorpion to be just to the west from Saturn.

   
   
   
   
   

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Give Mom a Diamond

   About an hour after local sunset, on Mother’s Day May 12th, go outside and face south and look for the 8-day old waxing gibbous Moon to be near the star Regulus. Then look for the bluish-white colored star Spica.
   Spica, a star in Virgo the Harvest Maiden, marks the lower corner of an *asterism known as ‘the Diamond of Virgo’. To see the asterism look up to the left from Spica for the reddish star Arcturus in the kite-shaped constellation Bootes the Herdsman. Then look nearly straight up, the zenith, for the dimmest of the diamond stars, Cor Caroli in Canes Venatici, the Hunting Dogs. Then look down to the right for the star Denebola, the tail of Leo the Lion.
   Look toward the western horizon for a reddish star, actually the ‘Red Planet’ Mars.

*An asterism is a group of stars forming a recognizable pattern using stars within a constellation or by combining stars from more than one constellation. For example, the Big and Little Dipper are asterisms.

   
   
   

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Moon – Jupiter Conjunction

   Wednesday morning March 27th the 20-day old waning gibbous Moon will be within about 4o from the outer giant ringed planet Jupiter. The Moon and Jupiter are both within about 20o east (left) from the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion.
   Further eastward is another outer ringed giant planet, Saturn. This is where the Moon will be in 2 days.
   
   
   

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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Waning Gibbous Moon Passes Spica

   Over the next 2 days, March 21st and 22nd, the waning gibbous Moon will be passing by the blue-white star Spica in the constellation Virgo the Harvest Maiden, coming within 6-7o on the 21st and 10-11o on the 22nd.
   From the mythology about Virgo she is often depicted with a bundle of grasses, like wheat, clutched in her left hand. The star Spica represents that bundle.


   
   
   

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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