A Hot Seat? Uranus at Solar Conjunction


   On April 23rd, the outer planet Uranus will be on the opposite side of the Sun at solar conjunction.

   
   
   

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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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

Taurus Gets ‘Moon Eye’

   Wednesday evening, February 13th the 9-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be within about 1o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the open star cluster the Pleiades. The v-shaped Pleiades make up the face of Taurus the Bull and the star is often referred to as the angry eye of the bull due to the star’s reddish color. The entire star cluster and the Moon all fit well within the field of view of binoculars.

    Further west is a planetary conjunction between Mars and Uranus. Both will fit well 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.


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Moon – Uranus Conjunction

   Monday evening January 14th the 9-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be about 6-7o from the outer planet Uranus. Both are close enough to fit within a binocular field of view.
   However don’t realistically expect to see Uranus as Uranus has an apparent magnitude of 5.78 compared to the much brighter -12.0 apparent magnitude of 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.

Mars – Uranus at Heliocentric Conjunction

   Thursday December 13th the two outer planets, Mars and Uranus will reach a point in their respective orbits called heliocentric conjunction, both having the heliocentric longitude of 31o.

   
   
   

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.

December Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (greatest distance from Earth), on Wednesday December 12th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 31.76 Earth diameters 251,765 miles (405,177 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 6-day old waxing crescent Moon, an hour after sunset local time (4:55 pm CST), will be over the southwestern horizon and joined by several planets. Over the southern horizon is the planet Mars. Neptune and Uranus are also shown however at 8th Neptune requires optical assistance or a camera to become visible, while Uranus at around 6th magnitude could be visible with binoculars or telescope.

*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.