2023, October 11: Morning Earthshine, Leo

Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Regulus, October 2, 2015
Photo Caption – 2015, October 2: Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Regulus before sunrise


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:58 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:16 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times. Times are calculated by the US Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.

Photo Caption – Annular Eclipse 2012

On the 14th, the moon’s shadow races from the Pacific Oregon coast to the Gulf of Mexico.  Sky watchers along the narrow shadow path see an annular or ring eclipse.  The moon is too far away from Earth to create a total eclipse, but a ring of sunlight surrounds the moon.  In recent popular lingo, the event is known as a “ring of fire” eclipse.

Chart Caption – 2023, October 14: The maximum solar eclipse from Columbus, Ohio.

Observers outside the path of annularity see a partial eclipse.  From Columbus, Ohio, the maximum eclipse, 38%, occurs at 1:07 p.m. EDT.

Chart Caption – Solar Projection: Solar images are projected against a cement floor from holes in a metal roof.

One way to see the eclipse occur is to project the sun’s image.  During a recent outing, this writer saw three circles of light on a cement floor in an old garage.  Sunlight streamed through three holes in a metal roof.  On eclipse day these circles have the appearance of the eclipse. Locations like this allow for a group observation of the solar eclipse.

Summaries of Current Sky Events
Summary for Venus as a Morning Star, 2023-24

Here is today’s planet forecast:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, October 11: Venus and the crescent moon appear in front of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise.

Saturn sets about four hours before sunrise.  It disappears into the haze near the horizon, over thirty minutes earlier.

This morning, brilliant Venus is 30° up in the east-southeast and 2.8° to the lower right of Regulus, Leo’s brightest star.  The Morning Star continues to step eastward in front of the Lion.

The crescent moon, 10% illuminated, is over 20° above the eastern horizon and 11.2° to the lower left of Venus.

Photo Caption – 2022, September 23: Crescent moon with earthshine.

Look for earthshine on the moon’s night portion between the cusps or horns.  The effect is from sunlight reflecting from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land that softly illuminates the lunar night.

Regulus is at the bottom of a backwards question mark, also known as the “Sickle of Leo,” a farmer’s implement for cutting grain. This shape outlines the head of the westward-facing Lion.  The animal’s haunches and tail are dotted by a triangle, with Denebola the eastern-most star.  This tail star is over 13° to the lower left of the crescent.

Chart Caption – 2023, October 11: Bright Jupiter is in the west-southwest during morning twilight.

Bright Jupiter is less than halfway up in the west-southwest at this hour, 108° from Venus.  The Jovian Giant retrogrades in Aries, 12.6° to the left of Hamal, the Ram’s brightest star, and 11.1° to the upper right of Menkar, the Sea Monster’s nostril.

Chart Caption – Jupiter’s retrograde motion against the starfield is demonstrated for 2023.

Retrograde motion is an illusion as our planet overtakes and passes an outer planet and the sun.  Normally, the planets appear to move eastward against the starry background.  Our faster moving planet creates the appearance that the planet is backing up or moving westward against the starfield.  Watch Jupiter move between Hamal and Menkar.

Mercury retreats into bright sunlight, moving toward its superior conjunction. It rises about thirty minutes before the sun.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, October 11: Saturn is in the southeast an hour after sundown.

Mars is not visible.  It sets during bright twilight, shortly after sundown.

Saturn, not as bright as Venus or Jupiter, is over 25° above the southeast horizon at an hour after sundown.  It is retrograding in front of Aquarius, 7.1° to the left of Deneb Aldegi, the tail of Capricornus. Both fit snugly into the same binocular field of view.

Look for Fomalhaut, over 20° below Saturn.  It represents the mouth of the Southern Fish, Piscis Austrinus.

Jupiter, heading for opposition on November 3rd, rises sixty-six minutes after sunset.  About an hour later it is nearly 10° above the eastern horizon.  As midnight approaches the planet is over halfway up in the east-southeast.  Tomorrow morning when Venus is in the eastern sky, Jupiter is in the west-southwest.


Leave a ReplyCancel reply