Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
Did you happen to see yesterday’s chart? If so – or if you looked in the actual sky during the evening hours – you might have noticed that last night’s moon was between the planet Saturn and the star Spica. This evening, the moon shines by the star Spica in the constellation Virgo.
The moon was to the east of Spica last night. Tonight, if you look, you will find the moon much closer to Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. If you are interested in knowing why, look back at yesterday’s program.
You do not have to wait until after sunset to see tonight’s moon. You can see the moon in the late afternoon today in a blue daytime sky. The moon, now in a waxing gibbous phase, will be visible in the southern sky just before sunset. It will appear as a pale ghost of a moon, possibly swimming among white puffy clouds.
Why can you see today’s moon during the day? Because the moon moves in orbit around Earth, it is in the daytime sky as often as the night sky. It is not unusual for the sun’s glare to hide the daytime moon from view. However, right now the moon is well away from the sun on the sky’s dome – note that it is in the south tonight, when the sun is going down in the west-northwest.
What’s more, the moon is showing us a large fraction of its lighted half now, and so it is easy to see the moon in daylight today. The moon will be full on June 26.
Written by Deborah Byrd