26 June 2014

The Start of a Lunar Cycle

Young Moon movements
Each time a lunar cycle begins, I look forward to each evening to see where the Moon is going to be, starting with a dark night sky at New Moon, and over the course of a week enjoying the waxing crescent of our celestial neighbor as it grows into First Quarter. Along this journey, I await alignments and close encounters, and in the early days of the current lunar cycle there are many objects in the path of the Moon.

Moon & Mars
New Moon is on Friday June 27th, and the first chance to spot the young Moon is Saturday 28th (which, if sighted, will start the month of Ramadan). The Moon on the 28th is very near Jupiter and both set shortly after sunset. It will pass very near Regulus in Leo on July 1st, and as it then travels across the ecliptic it will reach First Quarter and have a close encounter with Mars and Spica, covering Mars for a short while on July 5th, but this event will not be visible from North America.

After passing by Mars, the Moon will gradually move next to Saturn. More on that in my next blog post.

Images courtesy of Sky  & Telescope.

10 June 2014

Why You Should See An Eclipse

Shadows during an eclipse
I gave a talk recently at an event in San Francisco called Ignite, a fun evening of short, fast-paced talks on a wide variety of subjects. Click here to watch my 5 minute video on the subject of eclipses. I think you'll be inspired (and if not, then it's only 5 minutes :-)