Moon Along the ecliptic

   As the Earth and Moon orbit the Sun together the Moon follows an orbital path that takes it along the plane of the ecliptic (Earth’s orbit), sometimes above, and sometimes below. At least twice each orbit or during during the calendar period for that orbit the Moon will cross the ecliptic either as an ascending node or a descending node.
   As this short video shows the Moon will follow a path along the ecliptic and as it does so it will pass some of the brighter stars and planets that are arranged on or near the ecliptic.
   You may also notice a steady shift of the sky toward the west. This is the effect of the Earth in motion, revolving, around the Sun. Since the Earth covers the 360o orbit in approximately 365 days the Earth moves almost 1o each day, and the sky in turn has the noticeable westward shift of the same amount.

   
   
   

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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July Perigee Moon and A Conjunction with Regulus

   Our Moon reaches perigee, (closest distance to Earth), for this orbit, on Friday July 5th. At that time the Moon will be at a distance of 28.51 Earth diameters, 226,011 miles (363,729 km) from the Earth.

   The 4.50-day old waxing crescent Moon is over the southwestern horizon at sunset local time and sets around midnight. About 1o east from the Moon is the ‘Heart of the Lion’, the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. The two will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars or a low power telescope eyepiece.
   Appearing lower above the western horizon are the planets Mars and Mercury.

   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 Crescent Moon on the Move

   Shortly after sunset local time on July 3rd look toward the western horizon for the 1.5-day old thin waxing crescent Moon to be close to the planets Mars and Mercury, and within about 4-5o from Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins stars.
   The following evening, July 4th, the 2.5-day old waxing crescent Moon will have moved about 15o further toward the east and will be about 3-4o from the open star cluster, M-44. Also known as the ‘Beehive Cluster’ it is a group of stars around 600 light years away and visible to the naked eye as a small ‘smudge’ of light with an apparent magnitude of around 3.70.
   Both the Moon and M-44 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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

July Moon at Ascending Node

   Wednesday July 3rd the 1.5-day old waxing crescent 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 thin waxing crescent Moon will be close to the planets Mars and Mercury, however all three are low over the western horizon as the Sun is setting. Since this node crossing was close to the new Moon phase, about 12 hours after, there was a total solar eclipse. Visible from the Southern Hemisphere, Chile and Argentina.

   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 – Regulus Conjunction

   Friday June 8th the 5.60-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within about 2o from Regulus, the star marking the heart of Leo the Lion. Both will be visible high over the southern horizon at 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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

June Moon at Perigee

   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 28.89 Earth diameters, 228,977 miles (368,504 km) from the Earth.

   The 4.68-day old waxing crescent, Moon rises is over the southwestern horizon at sunset local time and sets around midnight. About 12o east from the Moon is the ‘Heart of the Lion’, the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. Between this time and and the same time tomorrow the Moon will have passed Regulus and be a few degrees away from the star, but on the east side.

   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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.

Waxing Crescent Moon Near Beehive Cluster

   Thursday evening June 6th the 3.70-day old waxing crescent Moon will be within about 4o from the open star cluster M-44, or more commonly known as the “Beehive Cluster”. Despite the crescent Moon’s apparent magnitude of -10.0 it should be possible to still see the Beehive Cluster dimly ‘glowing’ with its 3.50 apparent magnitude in 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.


Also Follow me and other great resources at Feedspot.