May Moon at Descending Node

   Wednesday May 22nd 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 17.5-day old waning gibbous Moon will be 5-7o to the west from the ringed planet Saturn. The following day, May 23rd, the 18.5-day old waning gibbous Moon will have orbited to the east side of Saturn passing within 5-6o.


   
   
   
   
   

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Moon – Jupiter Conjunction

   Late Monday evening May 20th the 15-day old waning gibbous Moon will be within about 3-4o from the outer ringed planet Jupiter, and about 8-9o from Antares, the ‘heart’ of Scorpius the Scorpion. Jupiter and the Moon will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars. Jupiter is currently located within the boundaries of the constellation of Ophiuchus the Healer, the 13th constellation of the Astronomical zodiac.

   
   
   

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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Mars and M-35

   Sunday evening, May 19th, the ‘Red Planet’ Mars will be passing across the open star cluster M-35. This is a group of stars almost 4,000 light years distant located in the constellation of Gemini the Twins, near their feet. Depending on local sky conditions M-35 may be visible with the unaided, but now with Mars traversing the star cluster it also will be a great sight with binoculars, a telescope, and a camera.


   
   
   

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 – Ceres Conjunction

   Sunday morning May 19th the 15-day old waning gibbous Moon will be within 2-3o from Dwarf Planet Ceres. Considering that Ceres currently is a dim 6.8 apparent magnitude, and is that close to a just past full Moon, the chances of seeing Ceres are basically non-existent. However the reddish star Antares, down to the left from the Moon and Ceres, is visible. And over the next few days the Moon, as it wanes, will pass by Jupiter, then Saturn.

   
   
   

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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May Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit, on Monday May 13th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.93 Earth diameters 229,296 miles (369,017 km) from the Earth.

   The 9-day old waxing gibbous, Moon rises around mid-afternoon and sets the following day, and is visible all night.

   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*
   *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.


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Waxing Gibbous Moon Passes Regulus

   Saturday and Sunday May 11-12th the waxing gibbous Moon will pass by the star Regulus, the ‘heart’ of Leo the Lion.

   
   
   

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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Waxing Crescent Moon Near Beehive Cluster

   Friday evening May 10th the 6-day old waxing crescent Moon will be ‘on top’ of the open star cluster, M-44, or the Beehive Cluster. This should make for a great viewing sight through the field of view of binoculars or telescope, and certainly would make for a striking astrophoto.

   
   
   

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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