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2021: August 1 – 6: Morning Moon, Bright Stars

2020, July 17: The crescent moon appears near Venus before sunrise. The night portion of the moon is gently illuminated by earthshine.

Photo Caption - 2020, July 17: The crescent moon appears near Venus before sunrise. The night portion of the moon is gently illuminated by earthshine.

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August 1 – 6, 2021:  The morning moon wanes toward its New moon phase in the eastern sky.  It passes the bright stars that are prominent in the evening sky during the winter season in the northern hemisphere.  The stars have been making their first appearances in the morning sky during summer.  At this hour, Procyon and bright Sirius are the last stellar duo to appear.

Chart Caption – 2021, August 1 – 6: The waning moon appears farther eastward each morning as the bright stars make a beautiful backdrop.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

During August 1 – August 6, 2021, the waning moon appears in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise.  Each morning, notice its change from its previous morning’s place and moon phase.

Step outside each morning about an hour before sunrise.  Here’s what to look for:

August 1:  The thick crescent moon, 42% illuminated, is over halfway up in the sky in the east-southeast.  The gibbous moon is nearly 13° to the right of the Pleiades star cluster – the Seven Sisters.

Chart Caption – 2021, August 2: The crescent moon, 33% illuminated, is less than halfway up in the east.

August 2: The crescent moon, 33% illuminated, is less than halfway up in the east.  It is to the right of a line from the Pleiades star cluster to Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus.

Chart Caption – 2021, August 3: This morning’s crescent moon, 24% illuminated, is 5.9° to the upper left of Aldebaran.

August 3: This morning’s crescent moon, 24% illuminated, is 5.9° to the upper left of Aldebaran.

Chart Caption – 2021, August 4: The waning moon, 16% illuminated, seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus – Elnath, “the one butting with horns,” and Zeta Tauri.

August 4: The waning moon, 16% illuminated, seems to be caught between the horns of Taurus – Elnath, “the one butting with horns,” and Zeta Tauri.  The lunar slice is 4.9° to the lower right of Elnath and 3.0° to the upper left of Zeta.  The two stars are too far apart for the moon and the stellar horns to fit into the same field of a binocular. The lunar crescent and Zeta Tauri make a nice site through the binocular.

Chart Caption – 2021, August 5, 2021: In Gemini this morning, the thinning moon is 3.0° to the upper left of Tejat Posterior, “the heel,” and 3.2° to the upper right of Mebsuta, “the outstretched paw of the lion.”

August 5: In Gemini this morning, the thinning moon is 3.0° to the upper left of Tejat Posterior, “the heel,” and 3.2° to the upper right of Mebsuta, “the outstretched paw of the lion.” This morning all three celestial sights fit into a binocular field.  Notice that Castor – one of the Gemini Twins – is 15.7° to the lower left of the moon.

August 6: The moon, 5% illuminated, is about 10° up in the east-northeast, 5.6° to the upper right of Pollux, the second Gemini Twin.

With the sunrise time becoming noticeably earlier, viewing the morning and evening sky is easier than mornings and evenings near the solstice.  As the midpoint of summer approaches, note the bright stars in the morning sky and the waning crescent moon as it heads toward the sunrise point during these six mornings.

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