Continuation of the Moon’s story


from its slicing of the nodes two days ago.

(Blog posted a bit late because friends from afar arrived to spend the day with us.)

You can see that it is aiming to hit Uranus. In fact it will pass close enough to occult (hide) that distant and dim planet. The same happens every month this year, because of the way the Moon’s orbit is lying. But on this occasion, since it happens half a day from now, it will be the Pacific side of Earth that is turned toward the Moon; also, the Moon’s center is aiming slightly south of Uranus; the result is that the region where the occultation will be observable is Australia.


Part of a diagram from the OCCULTATIONS section of Astronomical Calendar 2015. Blue circles are the “shadow” of the Moon cast by Uranus at 1-hour intervals.

So, again, you don’t really need to be out before dawn, unless you’re in Australi. You can see this just-past-Last-Quarter Moon climb into the day, and imagine Uranus to its left.

And I have to admit I’m posting this picture to show off the continuing evolution of my program for drawing pictures of this kind. Note the better appearance of the ecliptic and equator curves. I wanted to make them less obtrusive, contrasting only just enough with the sky background; which meant that at each point they have to know, as it were, the color of the sky around them.

And over in the evening direction, asteroid 2 Pallas is at opposition.


It is at magnitude 9.4, as marked on the picture, far too dim for the naked eye; with a telescope you might search for it with this Astronomical Calendar 2015 chart.



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