SJAA Ephemeris June 2004 | SJAA Home | Contents | Previous | Next



Dave North


“...if the Moon reaches its highest point on the ecliptic at "new," it means it will be lower for all other phases.”



The subject of equatorial drives and moon rates came up this month. I more or less automatically poo-poo the whole idea: the Moon does not sweep out the same number of degrees each day (remember Kepler and the basic laws? Is that a good name for a rock band?)

But I haven't been keeping track. With a good sense of date and time and a decent processor (all of which are becoming more popular these days), do any of the new trackers have a moon rate that actually keeps the Moon centered all month? I don't know; I'm asking.

In other news, Venus will not be transiting the Moon this month from anywhere on earth. (It can't, but you knew that, right?) Of course, it will be transiting the sun if you're just about anywhere in the world but right here where we are.

Sigh. Again.

Early in the month we'll have the annual Biggest Full Moon Of The Year, a complete non-event. Trust me, you won't be able to tell the difference between it and last month's unless you have some fairly good measuring devices.

However, right after that inspiring full Moon (okay, so take a look around full. You might see some interesting stuff on the limb) you get a chance to try for an early Moon sighting.

This isn't a record opportunity, but it is fun just how soon you can spot it. Because the sun will be at its highest point in the sky later this month, you can pretty much bone out that means the ecliptic near the sun is about at its highest elevation, and the Moon more or less follows the ecliptic.

So you have a new Moon at just about its maximum height. Ta da, look for it in your sky soon!

Other than that, welcome to the overall worst month for elevation. Same reason: if the Moon reaches its highest point on the ecliptic at "new," it means it will be lower for all other phases. That also means, of course, it will be a Very Low full Moon. This is always kind of fun, because more people will see it (it will more or less wander along the horizon, never getting all that high. And that's where the average terrestrial looks, especially when they're driving and not dialing their phone).

If we're really lucky one of the newspapers will print a story about the Really Big Full Moon.

If someone asks, tell them it's because the full Moon is especially close this month, but it probably won't hit us.

At least we're pretty sure.

That's always good for a laugh...


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