Thin Moon on the Move

   Sunday June 21st, on the other side of the Earth from the U.S.A., the new Moon will be passing between the Earth and the Sun giving that side of the world an annular solar eclipse.
   About 1/2-day later the just past new Moon, an 0.80-day young thin waxing crescent Moon may be seen just above the western horizon at sunset local time. If you see the Moon look closely for a star-like object just to the left from the Moon. This is the inner planet Mercury.
   If you miss the Moon and Mercury on Sunday evening wait until Monday evening June 22nd to see the still thin 1.85-days old waxing crescent Moon near one of the Gemini ‘Twin’ stars, Pollux.
   Not had enough? On Tuesday June 23rd the 2.80-days young waxing crescent Moon will be near M44, the Beehive Cluster.
   Any of these conjunctions will look great in binoculars.

   
   
   

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Moon on the Move

   Over the next several days the Moon, as it waxes toward first quarter, will be moving toward the east and as it does the Moon will pass by several of the brighter stars along the Moon’s orbital path. This will take the Moon near Pollux, one of the Gemini ‘Twins’, and then past Regulus, the ‘Heart’ of Leo the Lion. On the 27th you may be able to see the open star cluster, M-44, or also known as the Beehive 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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Thin Waxing Crescent Moon Near Venus – Mercury

   Saturday evening May 23rd look toward the western horizon for the very thin young 1.3-day old waxing crescent Moon. The Moon will be about 3-4o from the inner planet Venus and about 5-6o from the other inner planet Mercury. All three will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars and given the range of apparent magnitudes should make for a great view and even a picture.
   Apparent MagnitudesWaxing Crescent Moon: -8.42 Venus:-4.16 Mercury: -0.42
   
   
   
   
   
   

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 Starlink Satellite Swarm

   Growing up during the 1960s I often spent many evenings outside with my father watching for satellites to pass over where we lived. I learned how to differentiate between an airplane and a satellite by watching the object as it approached the horizon. An airplane lights may be followed all the way to the horizon while the reflected sunlight from a satellite appears and disappears above the horizon as the satellite moves out of and then back into the Earth’s shadow. This was the early days of satellite technology and the time of communication satellites like Telstar, as well as satellites we presumed were Russian spy satellites.
      In today’s world satellites and space exploration have lost some of the public awareness and popularity. However there are many easy to see satellites including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, a variety of communication satellites, and most recently the Starlink Satellites.
   The Starlink is a satellite built by SpaceX for the intention of providing satellite Internet access. Initially the focus will be on satellites providing Internet connection for much of North America but with the eventual launching of around 12,000 satellites the entire globe may have satellite Internet access.
   Currently the Starlink satellites appear in groups of 50 or so and look like a string of bright pearls stretched across the sky. Watch the video below of the Starlink Satellites passing over England.
   The Starlink Satellites move rapidly compared to the ISS and the group last night, in my pictures, were around 2nd magnitude or brighter. The group moved out the northwest past the Big Dipper and Arcturus toward the southeast. The satellites appear as streaks of light because the pictures were time exposures lasting 5 or 6 seconds each.

Use the Heavens Above web site for maps and times for viewing the ISS, Starlink and other satellites.
Use the NASA ISS Sightings web site for specific viewing times and directions for your location.
Use this web site, What the Astronauts See Right Now, for a simulated view from the ISS looking down at the Earth’s surface it is orbiting over.

   
   
   

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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April Moon at Ascending Node

   Monday April 27th the 5-day old waxing crescent 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.

   While the waxing crescent Moon is at its ascending node further to the west, lower than the Moon, is the planet Venus.
  

   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 – Venus Conjunction

click on graphic to see it larger   Sunday evening April 26th, at sunset, look toward the western horizon for the 4-day old waxing crescent Moon to be about 7o from the inner planet Venus.

   The combination of the waxing crescent Moon with the brightly shining Venus will make for a good view through binoculars, albeit somewhat bright. And while you are using binoculars aim a bit lower for a look at the two open star clusters within Taurus the Bull: the v-shaped Hyades, and the tiny dipper-shaped Pleiades.
   
   
   

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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Crescent Moon and the Hyades

   Saturday evening April 25th, at around sunset, the 3-day old waxing crescent Moon will be 1-2o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran is the brightest star in Taurus and also the brightest star of the v-shaped open star cluster the Hyades.

   The combination of the waxing crescent Moon with the stars of the Pleiades will make for a good view 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.


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March Moon at Ascending Node

   Tuesday March 31st the 7.5-day old first quarter 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.

click on graphic to see it larger   While the first quarter Moon is at its ascending node further to the west, lower than the Moon, is the planet Venus. Over the next couple of days Venus will pass across the open star cluster the Pleiades.
  

   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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Earth Hour – Moon and Planets

   Last night, Saturday March 28th was Earth Hour and during that time period I was outside waiting patiently (sort of), and hoping, for the clouds moving in from the west to clear enough for taking pictures of the waxing crescent Moon and the inner planet Venus. Had some success with those two but clouds completely obscured the sky making getting any pictures that included the Pleiades not possible.
   Plans were made for checking the sky conditions the following morning for pictures of Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter. That worked out okay with some good seeing from my backyard as the pictures below show.


   
   
   

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 – Venus/Pleiades/Asteroid Vesta Conjunction

   It is Earth Hour on Saturday evening March 28th. So while you have the lights off step outside, if possible and weather permitting, and look toward the western horizon for the 4.5-day old waxing crescent Moon to be near the inner planet Venus (about 7o) and about 2-3o from Asteroid Vesta over the western horizon at sunset local time. With binoculars you can almost fit the Moon, Pleiades, and Venus within the field of view.

   Keep an eye on this area because over the next week or so Venus will move across and then past the open star cluster, the Pleiades. This animated graphic is set to 1-day intervals from April 2nd to April 5th.
   The Moon is also in motion as it continues its eastward motion across the sky but the dates for the graphic the Moon has moved past this area.

   
   
   

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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