Moon – Regulus Conjunction


   Late Saturday evening January 2nd, or early Sunday morning the 3rd, watch for the 20-day old waning gibbous Moon to be about 6-7o from the star Regulus. Regulus is the ‘heart’ of the lion, the constellation 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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Waning Gibbous Moon and the Twins

   Thursday evening December 3rd the 20-day old waning gibbous Moon will be in the arms of the Gemini Twins. Look for the Moon, Pollux and Castor as they rise a couple of hours 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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Mars at Ascending Node

click on graphic to see it larger   Two or three times each month I post information about the location of our Moon as it crosses the ecliptic, the Earth’s orbital path around the Sun. These are known as nodes and there is an ascending node and a descending node representing the location where the Moon crosses the ecliptic moving north or south.

   The ecliptic is used as the reference for all solar orbiting objects and with regard to the planets each of them is tilted or inclined from the ecliptic. So each planet, like our Moon, has an ascending and descending node.

   On Wednesday December 2nd the planet Mars crosses the ecliptic moving north, it’s ascending node.

   Click here to learn a little more about the ecliptic. This was a previous post from December 2019, but it still illustrates the ecliptic and the planets respective orbits relative to the ecliptic.

   This table shows the inclination of planets relative to the ecliptic as well as the Sun’s equator extended outward.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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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A Missouri Morning with the ISS

   This morning opened up with a colorful sunrise as the background for the ISS as it orbited toward the southeast. High overhead toward the south was the near last quarter Moon brightening the sky in that direction. However this was not a morning for taking pictures of the Moon.
   Right on time the ISS appeared over the northwest horizon and steadily moved past Polaris, the North Star, then past the Big Dipper’s Dipper heading toward the star Arcturus in Bootes the Herdsman. On its way toward the southeastern horizon the ISS went past Venus, Mercury and the star Spica in Virgo the Harvest Maiden.
   While waiting and taking random pictures in different directions I managed to catch a Taurid Meteor!

   
   
   

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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the Moon and the Beehive Cluster

   During the early morning hours of November 7th and 8th our Moon, as it wanes from gibbous to last quarter, will be passing by M-44, an open star cluster. M-44 is also known as the Beehive Cluster, and is located within the constellation Cancer the Crab.

   
   
   

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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the Moon and the Twins

   Late Thursday evening November 5th look toward the eastern horizon for the 20-day old waning gibbous Moon to be about 7-8o from the ‘Twins Stars’ Pollux and Castor as they rise together.

   
   
   

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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November Moon at Ascending Node

   Wednesday November 4th the 19-day old waning gibbous Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving north. 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 19-day old waning gibbous Moon will be over the eastern horizon around sunset local time. Mars is higher over the southeastern horizon while Jupiter and Saturn are low over the western horizon.

   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)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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 Faces Off With Taurus

   Monday evening November 2nd the 17-day old waning gibbous Moon will be alongside the open star cluster the Hyades, a v-shaped group of stars making up the face of Taurus the Bull. The ‘angry eye’ of the Bull, the reddish star Aldebaran, is about 2-3o from the Moon.

   Look for Mars off to the west from the Moon, and Jupiter and Saturn further west over the southwestern horizon.

   
   
   

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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Taurus Eyes the Moon!

   Late Tuesday evening October 6th the 20-day old waning gibbous Moon will be 4-5o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus the Bull.

   Aldebaran with its reddish color is known from mythology as the ‘angry eye‘ of the Bull. Aldebaran is also one of the two end stars in the v-shaped group of stars making up the face of the bull. This group of stars is an open star cluster, the Hyades, and is one two open star clusters easily seen with the unaided eye within the constellation. The tiny dipper-shaped Pleiades is the other open star cluster.

   
   
   

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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October Moon at Apogee

   Our Moon reaches apogee, (furthest from Earth), for this orbit, on Saturday October 3rd. For this apogee the 16-day old waning gibbous Moon will be at a distance of 31.85 Earth diameters, 252,463 miles (406,300 km) from the Earth.


   On the date of the apogee the 16-day old waning gibbous Moon will be about 1-2o to the east from the planet Mars and both very visible through the night hours, and shining brightly over the western horizon at sunrise.

   Our Moon and Mars should make for an interesting view with binoculars but considering the difference in apparent brightness (Moon: -12.6 vs Mars: -2.52) the Moon’s reflected sunlight will ‘drown out’ Mars. On the other hand, or direction, Venus is still close to the ‘heart of the Lion’ the star Regulus. Venus is unmistakable with an apparent magnitude -4.07 of compared to the 1.34 apparent magnitude of Regulus.


   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)

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.