March Moon at Ascending Node

   Saturday March 16th the 10-day old waxing gibbous 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 10-day old waxing gibbous Moon rises during the mid-afternoon and sets about 2 hours before sunrise on Sunday.

   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 Conjunction with Uranus

   Saturday evening March 9th the thin 3-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 6-7o from the outer planet Uranus. Both will be above the western horizon at sunset local time, setting about 2 hours after the Sun sets.
   Is it possible to see Uranus? Currently the apparent magnitude of Uranus is within the range that is visible to the unaided eye in very dark skies, or at least with binoculars. However even at a thin crescent shape the nearby Moon may brighten the sky too much to allow for seeing Uranus. There is a noticeable difference in the apparent brightness of the crescent Moon and Uranus. The Moon has a -10.0 apparent magnitude compared to Uranus with a 5.87 apparent magnitude.
   Despite the moonlight Uranus is visible as a faint star through binoculars at its current apparent magnitude and using the Moon as a guide it may be possible to spot Uranus. You may just have to wait until the Moon rises well after sunset leaving the sky relatively darker.

   
   
   

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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March Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Monday March 4th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.86 Earth diameters 252,520 miles (406,391 km) from the Earth.

   Does our Moon actually go around the Earth? 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 the apogee the 27.5-day old very thin waning crescent Moon will be over the southeastern horizon 30-60 minutes before sunrise local time.

*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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

March Moon at Descending Node

   Saturday March 2nd the Moon will be crossing the plane of 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.
   On the day of the node crossing the 26-day old waning crescent Moon will be over the southeast horizon rising about 1-2 hours before the Sun rises. Toward the west from the Moon will be two outer planets, Saturn and Jupiter, and a bit further west the dwarf planet Ceres. About 4-5o east from the Moon is the inner planet Venus. Both will easily fit within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars.
   
   
   
   
   

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 Dwarf Planet Ceres, then the Next Day with Jupiter

   In the hour or so before the Sun rises on the morning of February 26th look for the 21-day old last quarter Moon to be about 3-4o from the Dwarf Planet Ceres. Realize, however, that seeing Ceres is not really possible given that Ceres has an apparent magnitude of between 7th to 8th, while the last Quarter Moon has an apparent magnitude between -11th to -12th.
   In any case, on the morning of the 27th look for the 22-day old waning crescent Moon to be about 1-2o from the outer 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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Moon – Spica Conjunction

   Friday February 22nd the 18-day old waning gibbous Moon will be about 6-7 o from the blue-white star Spica in the constellation of Virgo the Harvest Maiden. Both easily fit within the field of view of binoculars. Both the Moon and Spica rise a few hours before midnight local time and set a couple of hours after sunrise local time.

   
   
   

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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February Full Moon is this Year’s ‘Super Moon’

   The 15.0 day old full Moon reaches perigee this month on Tuesday February 19th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 27.97 Earth diameters 356,762 km (221,682 miles) from the Earth. This is the closest that the Moon will come to the Earth during 2019. What makes this Moon perigee sort of unique is that full Moon occurs 7 hours later.
click on animated graphic to see it larger   This full Moon is the Super Moon of the Year.
   But can you tell the apparent size difference between the full Moons this year?

    Our Moon orbits around the Sun with the Earth and 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)

   Tuesday evening the full Moon rises shortly after sunset local time.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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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