September 10-13, 2021: The waxing moon passes the classic Scorpion in the evening sky. Look for them in the south-southwest during the early evening hours.
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by Jeffrey L. Hunt
After its spectacular grouping with brilliant Venus and Spica last evening, the waxing moon continues its eastward trek.
During the next few evenings, it appears in front of the stars of the Classic Scorpion, today represented by Scorpius and Libra. The stars Zubenelgenubi – “the southern claw” – and Zubeneschamali – “the northern claw” – are in Libra today. They represent the very old association of these stars with Scorpius.
Here’s what to look for on these evenings:
September 10: One hour after sunset, in the west-southwest, the lunar crescent, 20% illuminated, is 10.8° to the upper left of brilliant Venus and 4.5° to the lower right of Zubenelgenubi.
September 11: The lunar crescent, 29% illuminated, is clearly in the grasp of the Scorpion’s classic pincers – Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali. Notice that the lunar orb is nearly midway from Zubenelgenubi and Graffias – “the crab.” (Apparently, early biologists thought that crabs and scorpions had the same origin or changed from one form to another.)
September 12: The moon, 40% illuminated, is in the south-southwestern sky, 3.3° to the upper right of Antares – “the Rival of Mars.” On some drawings of celestial characters, Antares marks the heart of the Scorpion.
September 13: The First Quarter moon is only about 20° up in the south-southwest, above the Scorpion’s tail. The lunar orb is formally in the constellation Ophiuchus – the Snake Handler – between Scorpius and Sagittarius.
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