Moon – Jupiter Conjunction

   Friday evening July 20th the 8-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be 3-4o from the ringed planet Jupiter. Joining Jupiter to the west is Venus, and east from Jupiter are the planets Saturn and Mars.
   Close to Jupiter is 3rd magnitude star Zubenelgenubi in Libra the Scales.

   
   
   

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Circumstances for a Solar Eclipse


   Friday July 13th and Saturday the 14th circumstances are such that there will be a partial solar eclipse that will be best viewed from along the northern coast of Antarctica. (hey! every Antarctic coast is a northern coast!!
Specifically the partial solar eclipse will be visible at around 129o E near the Claire Coast.

   Circumstances for a solar eclipse, like for a lunar eclipse, require the Moon to be at either its ascending node or its descending node and be at or close to either new or full Moon phase. A node crossing occurs when the Moon with an orbit tilted 6o from the ecliptic (the Earth’s orbit) intersects the ecliptic.


   The Moon has an elliptically shaped orbit so if the timing for lunar apogee (furthest from Earth) or perigee (closest to the Earth) happens around a new Moon at a node crossing then the apparent size of the Moon will be anywhere from smaller to larger than the Sun’s apparent size. Smaller means a longer eclipse including the length of totality.


   
   
   However the bottom line is the timing between the node crossing and new Moon. This time the Moon crosses the ecliptic moving north, ascending node, approximately 24 hours after new Moon phase setting up a partial solar eclipse.

So what are the circumstances?
Times are in Universal Time (CDT = UT-5)
   July 13th
   1:48 UT – Partial Solar Eclipse Begins
   2:48 UT – New Moon — Partial Solar Eclipse
   3:01 UT – Mid-Eclipse (maximum Sun covered)
   4:13 UT – Partial Solar Eclipse Ends
   8:27 UT – Moon at Perigee – 357, 432 km (222,098 miles)
   July 14th
   2:52 UT – Moon at Ascending Node

   
   
   

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Moon in Conjunction with Jupiter

click on graphic to see it larger
   Saturday June 23rd the 10-day old waxing gibbous Moon will come within about 4-5o from the giant ringed planet Jupiter. About 1-2o from Jupiter is the 3rd magnitude star Zubenelgenubi, one of the stars of Libra the Scales.

   
   
   

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 Conjunction with Spica


   On the evening of June 21st the the 8-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be within about 8o from the blue-white star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden. In two days the Moon will have moved further east and be close to the 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.


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June Moon at Ascending Node

   Saturday June 16th the waxing 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 Saturday evening June 16th the 3.5-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 8o east (left) from the planet Venus and about 3o from the open star cluster, M-44 also, known as the ‘Beehive 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 Passes the Twins and Venus

   Friday evening June 15th the 3.75-day young waxing crescent Moon will be to the left from the ‘Twin’ stars of Pollux and Castor. A little further east or higher above the Moon is the ‘hard-to-miss’ planet Venus.

   Over the next 24 hours the Moon will have orbited eastward and by the same time Saturday evening June 16th the waxing crescent Moon will be ‘above’ Venus, or further east than Venus is.

   
   
   

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Venus and Moon Are In Conjunctions

   Monday evening May 21st the first quarter Moon and the inner planet Venus will each be in their own respective conjunctions. Venus is within 1o from the open star cluster, M-35, located near the foot of Castor, one of the Gemini Twins. Venus currently shines with an apparent magnitude of -3.96, and at that brightness will outshine the 5th magnitude of M-35.

    Nonetheless the two should be visible with binoculars, as this graphic simulates, as well as a couple of 3rd magnitude stars nearby.


   Further toward the east, and unmistakable is the first quarter Moon. During the night hours the Moon, as it orbits eastward, will pass within about 1.5o from the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. Since Regulus is very close to the ecliptic there is a good chance that the Moon and Regulus will have a regular repetitive pattern or cycle of conjunctions. As in the months that Regulus is above the horizon, which include the next two months, June 18th and July 15th.

   
   
   

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.