The Moon and its Missions


This day on the 9th is three days past the new moon. About ½ hour after sunset, the Moon joins up with Venus low in the west-south-west. The star Spica flickers to the low right of the pair. It is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. There is also a chance that you might see Mercury low in the sky at this time. Mercury and Spica will set 1 hour after the Sun, and Venus and the Moon will stay visible for another ½ hour.

The 1st quarter moon is on the 13th, so on the 12th, you will see it doing things. It has moved further to the south now and joined up with other constellations. This night it will meet up with Antares, which is Scorpion's heart and is a red supergiant. She is his brightest star. 

You might remember that Antares is the main star in Scorpius which is at the base of the Milky Way in the south. Now the moon is in the south-south-west. If you take out your binoculars to view the Moon 30-45 minutes after sunset, you should be able to see Antares which will be just below to the left of the Moon. If you look at it later it will be easier to see, but its color will be less dramatic.

On the 15th the moon moves further to the east and joins up with Jupiter and Saturn. The 3 of them will form a graceful line. On the 16th the Moon will be just below Saturn. On the 17th is will join up with Jupiter and be just below it to the right. The full moon will be on the 20th. So, it moves quickly and lines up with various items in the sky.

In case you are interested, the Lookout Mountain Observatory will be having a meeting on Saturday the 11th and will start at 7 p.m. This will be at the Rio Grande County Courthouse Annex, 965 6th St. in Del Norte. This will be followed by a star party at the Del Norte observatory that is next to the Courthouse. You will have to walk up the rocky mountain a little bit. A flashlight will help you walk up and down the mountain which is not steep. It is just dark.