Our charts are largely set for the northern half of Earth. To see a exact view out of your location, attempt Stellarium Online.
See the moon close to Spica
Occasionally, you’ll discover a detailed pairing of the moon and a vibrant star or planet. These eye-catching scenes may have even non-astronomy followers turning their heads for a re-examination. As a bonus, the moon is a superb information to studying stars and planets.
About an hour earlier than dawn on December 18, search for the waning crescent moon shining close to Spica. Spica is the one 1st-magnitude star in Virgo the Maiden. And it lies very close to the ecliptic, or yearly path the solar follows by way of the sky. Additionally, the moon and planets observe this similar path.
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A better take a look at Virgo’s brightest star
Spica is the 15th brightest star in our nighttime sky. In actual fact, it resides some 260 light-years from our photo voltaic system. So, this star have to be intrinsically very luminous to shine at 1st magnitude brightness in Earth’s sky.
Spica seems to us on Earth to be a single bluish-white star in a quiet area of the sky. However Spica consists of two stars and perhaps extra. The pair are each bigger and warmer than our solar, and so they’re separated by solely 11 million miles (lower than 18 million km). And so they orbit their widespread middle of gravity in solely 4 days.
As a result of Spica is just 2 degrees from the ecliptic, sometimes the moon will occult – move in entrance of – Spica. As a matter of reality, the subsequent collection of the moon passing in entrance of Spica begins in 2024, when the moon will occult Spica every month for a complete of 20 instances.
Backside line: Use the waning crescent moon on the morning of December 18, 2022, to find the intense star Spica. Spica is the brightest star in Virgo the Maiden.
For more great observing events in the coming weeks, visit EarthSky’s night sky guide
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