2020 General Lunar Viewing

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Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

Although Full Moon may last only an instant, to the human eye the Moon will look Full for a number of hours--perhaps even multiple nights for those who don't moongaze regularly. Conversely, New Moon is a time to take advantage of our natural satellite being "out of the way" and not reflecting sunlight; this is the night for deep sky observing.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

New Moon is at 4:28am CDT tomorrow morning. This upcoming nighttime period, and tomorrow's, can be used for deep sky observations. The best viewing time, according to NOAA, will be 8:45pm CDT to 11:30pm CDT.

Here is the NOAA forecast for 10pm...
precipitation potential, 5%
sky cover, 35%
relative humidity, 81%
temperature, 22˚C
surface wind, S 13 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during HRPO's viewing time the transparency rating will be "below average" (2 out of 5) and the seeing rating will be "poor" (2 out of 5). Between 3am and 4am, the seeing will be better but the humidity will have spiked to 97%.

According to Astronomy magazine, this is the 180th anniversary of the first imaging of the Full Moon. John Draper got a daguerrotype in New York.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

The Moon will be in a moderate conjunction with beautiful Aldebaran tonight. Take a look from 8pm to 8:30pm. You'll find the Moon in Aldebaran's home constellation of Taurus the Bull, with the K-class star to the Moon's lower left. There are bonuses! The Pleiades Star Cluster is to the Moon's lower right, with the planet Venus directly below. The majestic constellation Orion is on his side to the Moon's left.

Here is the NOAA forecast for 8pm CDT...
precipitation potential, 1%
sky cover, 38%
relative humidity, 47%
temperature, 23˚C
surface wind, NE 10 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during HRPO's viewing time the transparency rating will be "too cloudy to forecast" (0 out of 5) and the seeing rating will be "poor" (2 out of 5). This is a forecast with quite disparate data; hopefully a good view of the Moon and Aldebaran will be forthcoming.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

First Quarter Moon is at 5:21am CDT tomorrow morning. Tonight's nighttime period is excellent for skygazing from dusk to dawn (bad seeing after nightfall and a borderline humidity level in the morning notwithstanding).

Here is the NOAA forecast for 9pm tonight...
precipitation potential, 0%
sky cover, 4%
relative humidity, 62%
temperature, 17˚C
surface wind, N 14 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during this time the transparency rating will be "above average" (4 out of 5) and the seeing rating will be "bad" (1 out of 5).

Here is the NOAA forecast for 5am tomorrow...
precipitation potential, 0%
sky cover, 2%
relative humidity, 86%
temperature, 10˚C
surface wind, N 5 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during this time the transparency rating will be "above average" (4 out of 5) and the seeing rating will be "poor" (2 out of 5).

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

Full Moon is 9:35pm CDT tomorrow night. This is a Supermoon (which HRPO defines as a Full Moon and perigee taking place within twenty-four hours of each other). From 8:35pm to 10:35pm view the Moon at the best you'll see it all year, weather permitting. Can you see the Man in the Moon and the Woman in the Moon?

This week is actually a wonderful time to begin a pursuit of the Moon Watcher's Certificate. It is offered by the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society, and one has to be a member to obtain the award. However, the list can be used by anyone interested in increasing lunar gazing experience and knowledge of the near side of the Moon.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

Last Quarter Moon is 5:56pm CDT, but it won't be seen until about 4:15am tomorrow morning.

Many features on the Moon look quite different when the sunlight is streaming onto them from a setting Sun as opposed to a rising Sun (New Moon to Full Moon). For example, the famous Straight Wall, a low-grade rise in the lunar landscape, looks bright right now but dark when it first exits night.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

First Quarter Moon will be tomorrow at 3:38pm CDT. Step outside and take a look! NOAA's forecast calls for relative humidity under fifty percent; that's low for Baton Rouge.

You'll find the First Quarter Moon about thirty-five to forty degrees up in the east (in the constellation Cancer). Be patient; when not practiced it can take a few seconds to see the Moon in daylight. Beginning at 8:50pm later that evening, you should see the Moon between the sickle of Leo and the Beehive Cluster.

Early Saturday 2 May, the Moon will be within the Sickle, and from 12:49am to 1:49am CDT will be in a moderate conjunction with Regulus; the two will be fewer than three-and-a-half degrees apart while setting together.

From January, a First Quarter Moon as seen from the ISS...
https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/a-first-quarter-moon

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

We're heading toward a virtual overcast from about 9:30pm to 1am, so before or after that time take a peek at the Moon. It's Full at 5:45am CDT, which means it will appear Full until it sets a little before 6am (it's already rising in the west).

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

At 3:30am Monday 11 May, the waning gibbous Moon will be to the upper left of the Teapot of Sagittarius.
At 2:30am Tuesday 12 May, the waning gibbous Moon will be to the immediate lower right of Jupiter.
At 3:00am Wednesday 13 May, the waning gibbous Moon will be eight degrees to the lower left of Saturn.
At 3:30am Thursday 14 May, the Last Quarter Moon will be nine-and-a-half degrees to the right of Mars.
At 4:00am Friday 15 May, the waning crescent Moon will be to the immediate lower left of Mars.

Pertinent Graphic:
https://skyandtelescope.org/wp-content/ ... ay12mo.jpg

Christopher K.
Posts: 5468
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 General Lunar Viewing

Post by Christopher K. »

Lunar apogee was 2:45am CDT. More importantly, New Moon occurs on Friday 22 May at 12:39pm CDT. On Saturday 23 May, if it is clear, see if you can spot the thin waxing crescent Moon during twilight. It is best if the Sun has set (for safety reasons if for no other) and the Moon will be quite low at twelve degrees. But it will be to the lower left of Venus.

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