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07/15/2021 – Ephemeris – What the Chinese saw in the face of the Moon

July 15, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, July 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 13 minutes, setting at 9:25, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:12. The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 12:45 tomorrow morning.

Looking at the Moon tonight with the naked eye or binoculars, the dark patches called seas, which are really lava filled plains, make out the ears, head, and top part of the body of a rabbit that appears upside down. It’s the Chinese Jade Rabbit, Yutu. The seas involved, with their English names are: Serenity, the top of its body; Tranquility, its head; the more prominent ear is Fertility; while the other ear is a combination of the Bay of Roughness and Sea of Nectar. Yutu is the pet rabbit of the Moon goddess Chang’e, who flew to the Moon to escape her pursuers. The Chinese space agency has named all their moon landers Chang’e and their lunar rovers Yutu in their honor.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Moon tonight with the Jade Rabbit

The Moon tonight with the Jade Rabbit delineated in the seas and one bay the dark lava covered plains of the Moon. Created using Stellarium.

The Jade Rabbit seen on a full moon

The Jade Rabbit seen on a full moon rotated close to what tonight’s Moon is. Actually, the ancient Chinese saw the rabbit pounding medicine.

02/02/2017 – Ephemeris – Can you see the rabbit on the Moon?

February 2, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Ground Hog Day, Thursday, February 2nd.  The Sun will rise at 7:59.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 5:53.  The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 12:24 tomorrow morning.

The crescent Moon is in the southwestern sky.  It is revealing a group of lunar seas, dark gray areas that portrays an upside down rabbit.  From the top down are the seas Serenity as his body, the sea of Tranquility as his head. His two ears are different sizes,  the larger is the Sea of Fertility, and the smaller ear is the Sea of Nectar.  All of these seas seem to be connected.  The unconnected sea is the Sea of Crises, a pretty good symbol for our times, but unconnected to our upside down rabbit.  One word about the Latin names for these.  The Latin name for a sea is Mare, spelled like the female horse but pronounced Mar-ē.  The plural is Maria, spelled like the lady’s name but pronounced with the accent on the first syllable.

At 5:11 am EDT (10:11 UT) Venus and Mars will appear at their closest to each other at 5.4° or about 11 Moon diameters. From then on, Venus will back away. That is the Sun will overtake Venus faster than it will Mars.  They will eventually pass each other on October 5, 2017.

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

Addendum

The Rabbit in the Moon

An animation showing how the rabbit in the Moon as might be seen tonight February 2, 2017, demonstrating my complete lack of artistic talent. Created from a Moon image from Stellarium, Overlay from Libreoffice Draw, and animated GIF from GIMP.

Search [rabbit in moon] in Google images for  more artistic examples.