2020, June 30: The Classic Scorpion Catches the Moon

2020: June 30: The gibbous moon appears 2.7° above Zubenelgenubi in the early evening sky

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

As the moon moves toward its Full phase, the Classic Scorpion catches the lunar orb in its pincers. This evening the moon is 80% illuminated, as it is 9.8 days past the New phase.

One hour after sunset, the moon is caught in the classic pincers of Scorpius.  It is just above (2.7°) the southern claw – Zugenelgenubi. The name reflects that these stars – now part of Libra – were included with Scorpius.  The northern claw – Zubeneschamali – is above the moon.  Because of the moon’s brightness, it might be necessary to block the moon’s light with your hand to see the pincers or look for the stars with a binocular.

The head and body of the scorpion curves down to the left from the moon’s location.  The heart is red-orange Antares.  At this hour, the tail curls below the horizon and back up to the stinger.

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