July 13, 2022: Venus passes between Elnath and Zeta Tauri, the horns of Taurus, this morning. The perigee full moon – sometimes called a supermoon – is visible in the southeastern sky after sunset.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 5:27 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:25 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The moon is closest to Earth (perigee) at 4:06 a.m. CDT. At this hour it is low in the southwestern sky. The Full moon phase occurs at 1:38 p.m. CDT. It is below the horizon for sky watchers across the Americas. It rises about 35 minutes after sunset.
This morning, Venus passes between the horns of Taurus, a precarious place to be, before daybreak.
The brilliant Morning Star rises nearly two hours before sunup. An hour later, it is about 9° above the east-northeast horizon, 1.5° to the upper left of Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart) – the southern horn of Taurus – and 6.4° to the lower right of Elnath, the northern horn. A binocular may be needed to see dimmer Zeta.
The head of Taurus is made of Aldebaran – nearly 15° to the upper right of Venus – and the Hyades star cluster. The Pleiades star cluster, about one-third of the way up in the east, rides on the back of the Bull.
Three other planets are visible this morning as part of the morning planet parade. Bright Jupiter is about halfway up in the southeast. Dimmer Mars is to its lower left in the east-southeast. Saturn is in the south-southwest.
Saturn is the dimmest of the four bright morning planets. The Ringed Wonder is less than one-third of the way up in the sky above the south-southwest horizon. It is retrograding in eastern Capricornus, near the star Deneb Algedi.
The perigee Full moon is known in the popular press as a “supermoon” – the Full moon that occurs near perigee. The Farmer’s Almanac calls the July Full moon the “Buck Moon”
The supermoon is so named when the Full phase occurs when the moon is at least 90% of its perigee distance. This occurs a few times each year. It’s supposed to be super large and super bright. The perigee moon is about 14% closer and 14% brighter than the moon’s typical distance.
First 14% is not so much brighter than the typical Full moon and likely not visible to the human eye.
Secondly, take a look at these two images. One is 14% larger than the other one. Can you tell the difference?
When the popular press advertises any celestial event that encourages the public to look up, that is excellent publicity for sky watching. The difference from tonight’s Full moon and another is not likely visible.
Please get outside enjoy the bright Full moon. Take a walk in the bright moonlight. Watch and listen for the night sounds of nature.
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- 2023, December 24: Morning Moon, Pleiades, Antares Heliacal RisingDecember 24, 2023: The moon appears near the Pleiades star cluster during the earlier morning hours. Antares is at its first morning appearance, known as the heliacal rising.
- 2023, December 23: Check out Planet Uranus, Pleiades near MoonDecember 23, 2023: Look for the planet Uranus and the Pleiades star cluster through a binocular during nighttime hours.
- 2023, December 22: Mercury at Inferior Conjunction, Bright Jupiter, Gibbous MoonDecember 22, 2023: Mercury is between Earth and Sun, known as inferior conjunction. Jupiter and the gibbous moon are celestial companions during nighttime hours.