Moon and Venus Are in Conjunction – But Not With Each Other


   Tuesday evening April 24th the waxing gibbous Moon will be over the southwest horizon at sunset local time. The Moon will be about 3o from the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. Over the northwestern horizon at the same time will be the planet Venus about 3o from the open star cluster the Pleiades.

   Venus and the Pleiades will easily fit within the field of view of 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.

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.

April Moon at Descending


   Tuesday April 10th the thin waning crescent 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 24-day old waning crescent Moon will be over the eastern horizon about an hour before the Sun rises.

   
   
   

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.

April Apogee Moon

April Apogee Moon   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Monday April 8 th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.68 Earth diameters (404,144 km or 251,123 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 the apogee the 22-day old last quarter Moon will be over the eastern horizon at around sunrise local time and within about 11o from the ringed planet Saturn, and about 8-o from Mars.

*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.

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.

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.

Moon Traverses Taurus


   Wednesday and Thursday evenings March 21st and 22nd the waxing crescent Moon will pass across the constellation of Taurus the Bull. It will first be several degrees from the open star cluster the Pleiades and then the next day the Moon will be within 1-2o from the reddish star Aldebaran and the open star cluster the Hyades. The latter should prove to be a striking sight through 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.