25 May 2009

Moon passing through Gemini and Leo

As we transition from spring to summer, during the early phases of the lunar cycle the Moon's path appears to jump out of the western twilight sky fairly steeply toward the zenith. Gemini is the zodiac constellation that appears highest in the sky compared to the 11 other constellations of the zodiac. Thus in springtime when the Moon passes through Gemini, it appears fairly high in the western sky. This week you can see the Moon on its journey first through Gemini, then briefly across Cancer, then into Leo and a flyby of Saturn.

I am fascinated by the daily lengthening of the minutes and hours of sunlight at this time of year. Each day the sun rises a minute earlier and sets a minute later. It's very interesting to watch the transition from sunset to dark moving later and later each evening. In addition to the timing of sunset, the location is also changing. The sun sets quite far north of west and the point of sunset continues to move north until the summer solstice.


Sidewalk Universe said...

You are so right Paul, watching the season transitions this time of year is very interesting and fun. It is so easy to see the changes in the Sun's rising and setting positions against the horizon. It seems like you can "feel" the changes on a daily bases!

It was a pretty Moon last night - lots of Earth shine with Gemini standing on it's feet! The twins have the Moon well in hand! Sounds like the makings of a fun outreach program!

Thanks for letting the public in on these things - simple observations that are fun to observe and enjoy.

Drive-by Astronomy said...

Good luck with your star party Friday. Have a blast. I too had a wonderful view of the 1+ day old moon as it set over Lake Erie the other night.

The Urban Astronomer said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

In preparing for the Friday star party at Coyote Point Museum, I did some observing last night around 9 pm. As luck would have it, Friday will feature a first quarter moon, an iridium flare, a space station flyby and Saturn. All in a nights work!