March Moon at Ascending Node

   Saturday March 11th the waning 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 March 11th the 13.5-day old waxing gibbous Moon will rise with the constellation Leo the Lion and is located near the Lion’s tail.

   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.

A Lunar Conjunction with a Dwarf Planet


   Thursday evening March 2nd watch for the 4.5-day young waxing crescent Moon to be about 2o away from Dwarf Planet Ceres. Seeing Ceres with an apparent magnitude of around 8 may be difficult when the Moon is this close, especially using binoculars. 2march-tele
   However with a telescope Ceres should resolve into a small disc shape as this simulated view with a 25mm eyepiece on a 6″ reflector shows. There are two 6th magnitude stars on either side of Ceres that could be used as reference points for Ceres location if you are following the Dwarf Planet as it moves along its orbit.

   
   
   
   
   

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.

February Perigee Moon

6feb-perigee_moon   The Moon reaches perigee, (minimum distance from Earth), this month on Monday February 6th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.91 Earth diameters (368,816 km or 229,172 miles) from the Earth.
   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*

   On the day of the perigee Moon 13-day old nearly full Moon rises just before sunset local time and is located near the feet of the Gemini Twins.
   These two animated graphics show the sky as viewed from Quito Ecuador at 0o latitude, and my home latitude of approximately 40o North. They show the sky at one day intervals starting with February 1st and ending with February 5th.


   
   
   *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.

January Moon at Perigee

10jan-perigee_moon   The Moon reaches perigee, (minimum distance from Earth), this month on Tuesday January 10th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.4 Earth diameters (363,238 km or 225,705 miles) from the Earth.
   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*

   On the day of the perigee Moon 13-day old nearly full Moon rises just before sunset local time and is located near the feet of the Gemini Twins.

   
   
   *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.

Moon Gets Nosed by the Bull

   Sunday January 8th the 11 day old waxing gibbous Moon will be a few degrees from the nose of Taurus the Bull, and the stars making up the open star cluster the Hyades.
8jan-bino  Through 7×50 binoculars the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades and the Moon will make for an interesting sight.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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.

Moon Moons Uranus

   Thursday January 5th the just past first quarter Moon, a waxing gibbous Moon, is close to the outer planet Uranus, and also two of the Dwarf Planets. But close only in the sense that the three are in the same direction, or line of sight. Uranus as the next-to-last outermost of the 8 planets is 19.8 Au and has an apparent magnitude of 5.8. Ceres and Eris, while both are Dwarf Planets, are at very nearly the opposite ends of the solar system. Ceres is within the asteroid belts at a distance of 2.5 AU and has an apparent magnitude of 7.64. Eris, on the other hand is 96 AU from the Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 18.6.

   
   
   

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.

December Perigee Moon Hits the Bull’s Eye

14dec-perigee_moon   The Moon reaches perigee, (minimum distance from Earth), this month on Monday December 12th. At that time the Moon will more or less be at a distance of 28.1 Earth diameters (356,509 km or 221,524 miles) from the Earth.
   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*
   On the day of the lunar perigee the 13.5-day old waxing gibbous Moon rises at around sunset local time and is over the southwest horizon at sunrise the following morning. The Moon is also very close to the star Aldebaran in the v-shaped open star cluster making the face of Taurus the Bull, the Hyades. Depending on your location this may be an occultation of the star by the Moon, or a very close conjunction. Nonetheless with binoculars or a wide field telescope eyepiece the Moon superimposed on the Hyades should make for great viewing.
   
   
   *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.