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Earthsky Tonight – May23: Moon leaving Saturn, approaching Spica
Posted By Gary Wamsley On May 24, 2010 @ 9:52 am In Earth & Sky | Comments Disabled
Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
 Yesterday – on Saturday  evening – the waxing gibbous moon  shone close to the planet Saturn. This Sunday evening, a fuller waxing gibbous moon beams in between Saturn and the star Spica. Tomorrow – on Monday  – a larger yet waxing gibbous moon will couple up with Spica , the brightest star in the constellation Virgo.
As the moon makes its rounds through the starry heavens, its passes through every constellation of the Zodiac and by each solar system planet during the course of one sidereal month. The sidereal month refers to the moon’s full-circle journey in front of the background stars: a period of 27.3 days. The sidereal month represents the true measure of the moon’s orbital period around Earth.
Next month, the moon will pair up with Saturn on June 18 and Spica on June 20. However, will the phases be the same when the moon meets up with Saturn and Spica in June?
No, the phases will be smaller next month. That is because the lunar month – the month as measured by the cycle of the moon’s phases – lasts some 29.5 days. The lunar (or synodic) month is 2 days longer than the sidereal month: the moon’s full-circle trip through the stars.
Written by Bruce McClure
StarDate Online 
Sky and Telescope 
National Geographic 
Space Com 
Amazing Space 
Scope City 
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URLs in this post:
 www.EarthSky.org: http://www.EarthSky.org
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/2010/05/24/as-the-moon-makes-its-rounds-through-the-starry-heavens-its-passes-through-every-constellation-of-the-zodiac-and-by-each-solar-system-planet-during-the-course-of-one-sidereal-month/moon-10_phases/
 Image: http://www.berthoudrecorder.com/2010/05/24/as-the-moon-makes-its-rounds-through-the-starry-heavens-its-passes-through-every-constellation-of-the-zodiac-and-by-each-solar-system-planet-during-the-course-of-one-sidereal-month/10may23_4301/
 Saturday: http://earthsky.org/es-tonight/bright-object-near-moon-is-saturn
 waxing gibbous moon: http://earthsky.org/tonightpost/moon-phases/waxing-gibbous
 Monday: http://earthsky.org/es-tonight/bright-star-near-moon-is-spica
 Spica: http://earthsky.org/tonightpost/brightest-stars/speed-on-to-spica-the-15th-brightest-star
 Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/
 CHANDRA Photo Album: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/
 U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information cente: http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/astronomical-applications/astronomical-information-center/astronomical-information-center
 StarDate Online: http://stardate.org/
 Sky and Telescope: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance/
 National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/
 Space Com: http://www.space.com/nightsky/
 Amazing Space: http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/tonights_sky/
 The York County Astronomical Society: http://www.ycas.org/tonights_sky.htm
 Scope City: http://www.scopecity.net/
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