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Archive for the ‘The Moon’ Category

07/19/2018 – Ephemeris – The Moon passes the evening planets one by one over the next week

July 19, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, July 19th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 9:22, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:16. The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 1:29 tomorrow morning.

The Moon is making its monthly journey around the sky. Tonight it will be west or to the right of Jupiter. Tomorrow night Jupiter will be directly below the Moon. Next Tuesday night Saturn will appear below and left of the Moon. Next Thursday night Mars will appear below and to the left of the Moon. Mars at that time will be actually far south of the Moon, so that event usually doesn’t show in almanacs. Mars, being very close to us is in a part of its orbit that takes it south of the Earth’s orbital plane. We see that plane as the ecliptic or path of the Sun. We see the same situation when Venus is close to the Earth, and it is north or south of the ecliptic. The Moon can pass them without being listed as a conjunction.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Moon and the evening planets

Here’s the Moon passing each of the superior evening planets in the 8 days from July 20 to July 27 2018. By the time the Mon will pass Mars it will truly be an evening planet. Mars will be at opposition with the Sun that day. Note that the Moon’s size is exaggerated by a factor of 4 to show its phase at this scale. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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06/08/2018 – Ephemeris – A second Moon race?

June 18, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, June 18th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 1:30 tomorrow morning.

The Moon as a destination is becoming a hot topic among the space faring nations. Who will land humans first in this second wave since the United States landed there in the late 1960s and early 1970s: The Chinese, Russians, us? Or maybe someone else? Next year July 20th will be the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the lunar surface. The goal this time is not to just visit, but to stay. The lunar surface is a harsh environment of extremes in temperatures and radiation from the Sun, and from the universe beyond. There is shelter beneath the surface, in lava tubes. There is one lava tube with a collapsed roof, a skylight, which could provide access in a place called the Marius Hills.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Marius Hils

An oblique view of the Marius Hills from the Lunar Orbiter 2, with an inset look into a skylight into a lava tube from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at the lower left. Click on image to enlarge. Credit NASA, Lunar Orbiter 2, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The picture above was posted on Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) 2017 October 2017:  https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap171025.html, where there is more information.

05/17/2018 – Ephemeris – Venus and the Moon tonight and viewing Venus in the daytime

May 17, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 9:06, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:11. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 11:40 this evening.

This afternoon at 2:11 the Moon will appear to pass Venus. This will be impossible to see since the Moon is going to be much dimmer than Venus. Venus can indeed be seen in the daylight. I’ve seen it many times with binoculars or a telescope, but only once with the naked eye. The latter time was not long before sunset. It is essential that to spot Venus in the daytime by any of these means that one is in the shade, by putting the Sun behind a building, and knowing where Venus is supposed to be using a program on a smart phone. By tonight the Moon will have moved eastward past Venus by up to 13 of its diameters and will also be displaying earthshine, the reflection of the Earth off its night side.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Venus and the Moon

Venus and the Moon at 10 p.m. May 17, 2018. Created using Stellarium.

04/30/2018 – Ephemeris – Venus-Earth resonances, and Jupiter & the Moon tonight

April 30, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, April 30th. The Sun rises at 6:34. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 12 minutes, setting at 8:46. The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 9:30 this evening.

Jupiter will be near the moon tonight. The gravitational force between the planets produces some interesting resonances in their orbital periods. Venus has three different kinds with the Earth. First, Venus orbits the Sun 13 times in the same time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun 8 times. This is a 13 to 8 resonance. This sets up the 5 Venus Cycles equaling 8 years resonance the Mayan’s discovered. A Venus cycle of 584 days takes Venus to go from Morning Star to Evening Star and back again. The next one wasn’t discovered until we started to bounce radar signals off Venus. We found it rotates backwards, and very slowly at that. Its rotation with respect to the stars is longer than its year. And it so happens that every passage near the Earth the same side of Venus is facing us.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Moon and Jupiter

The Moon and Jupiter at 10 p.m. tonight, April 30, 2018. Created using Stellarium.

04/17/2018 – Ephemeris – The Moon will appear near the planet Venus tonight

April 17, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 17th. The Sun rises at 6:55. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 8:30. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 10:27 this evening.

This evening, while viewing Venus the Moon will be to the left and below our evening star. It will be a thin sliver of a crescent and in the twilight there will be the suggestion that there is more than the thin sliver of the Moon visible. Binoculars will confirm that the entire disk of the Moon will be visible. The effect is called earthshine. The nearly full Earth is illuminating the Moon to a much greater degree than the full Moon illuminates the Earth. The ancients had a more beautiful way to put it: “The old Moon in the new Moon’s arms.” There is the same effect in the morning of the few days prior to the new Moon. The instant of new Moon occurred at 9:57 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Sunday night the 15th. That’s the 16th according to Universal time. What does your calendar say?*

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Venus and the Moon

Venus and the Moon at 9 p.m. April 17, 2018. The Moon’s image has been enlarged two and a half times to show the earth shine and hint at the sliver of a crescent. Created using Stellarium.

* About the new moon this month.  I have two wall calendars.  One by NASA showing that the new moon occurred on April 16th based on Universal Time.  Universal Time (UT) used to be known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  My other wall calendar is from the Old Farmers Almanac.  It shows the new moon to be on the 15th.  The almanac’s calendar pages are based on the location of Boston and the Eastern Time zone, standard or daylight saving.  The calendar seems to be similarly based.

The Moon phase calculations for these programs are created by a DOS version of my LookingUp program, which is by now over 20 years old.  I calculate them up a year at a time for the next year.  These are based, of course on the Eastern Time zone.

03/26/2018 – Ephemeris – The Moon will slide below the Beehive star cluster tonight

March 26, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, March 26th. The Sun will rise at 7:34. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 28 minutes, setting at 8:02. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 5:34 tomorrow morning.

Tonight the gibbous Moon will be seen among the stars of Cancer the crab. It will just about completely drown Cancer’s dim stars out. That is no exception to one of the famous group of stars in Cancer, the Beehive star cluster. It is going to take binoculars or a small telescope to spot them. The star cluster will be at the 11 o’clock position from the Moon. When looking for the cluster try to keep the Moon out of your field of view. The cluster is about 4 moon-widths away, so aim high and slowly aim those binoculars down. There will be other times in the next few months to catch the Moon near the Beehive, when the Moon will be a not so overwhelming crescent as the cluster moves westward in the evening sky with the rest of the stars.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Moon and the Beehive Star Cluster

The Moon and the Beehive Star Cluster tonight at 9 p.m. March 26, 2018. The star cluster will be very difficult to spot. Created using Stellarium, however I had to boost the brightness of the stars and eliminate the atmosphere control to darken the sky enough to see the cluster. Good luck!

Cancer the Crab

Cancer the crab finder chart for a dark night. Note the beehive cluster, also known to amateur astronomers as M44, along with other catalog names. Prior to the invention of the telescope this cluster was known as Praesepe which means “Manger”. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

03/23/2018 – Ephemeris – After a crazy week sail on the Sea of Serenity

March 23, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, March 23rd. The Sun will rise at 7:40. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 18 minutes, setting at 7:59. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 2:53 tomorrow morning.

This evening the Moon will be at nearly first quarter and the terminator will be at the edge of the Sea of Serenity or Mare Serenitatis, with the morning Sun shining on its ramparts. Through binoculars or the naked eye the scallop shell shaped sea will be visible at the upper right part of the moon, the man in the moon’s left eye as he is facing us. In telescopes the moon will be inverted and even also reversed, so Serenity could appear in any other quadrant depending on what your telescope does to the image. There are two large craters above or north of Serenity if looking at them with a non-inverting telescope. The nearest to Serenity is Eudoxus, and the farther one is Aristoteles, named after Aristotle.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Nearly first quarter Moon

Tonight’s Moon with the Sea of Serenity and two isolated large craters. 9 p.m., March 23, 2018. Created using Virtual Moon Atlas.

Scallop shell

Image of a scallop shell rotated to match the Sea of Serenity. Credit Wikipedia user Kevmin. (Creative Commons)