Full Moon (June 23)

posted: 1431 days ago, on Saturday, 2013 Jun 22 at 06:43
tags: astronomy, outreach, Southern Sky Highlights 2013, Moon.

The Moon, our nearest celestial neighbour, is Full on Sunday, June 23 [at about 13:00 SAST]. More or less at the same time, it's also at its closest to Earth (perigee; a mere 356 989 km).

This combination - a Full Moon, at its closest to Earth - makes for a beautiful sight. Look for the Moon in the east-southeast soon after sunset. When you spot it, it will appear gigantically pretty as it looms above the horizon.

For Cape Town, the Sun sets at 17:48, and the Moon rises at 18:06. Twilight lasts until just after 19:00, so there's plenty of time to enjoy the view.

Position some buildings between you and the rising Moon, use a powerful zoom lens on your camera, and you're almost guaranteed a winning photo.

The accompanying illustration shows the view looking towards the rising Moon. Notice the lovely constellation Scorpius above the Moon, with its bright red star Antares (the Heart of the Scorpion). The helpful green lines connecting the stars won't be in the sky, so you'll have to connect-the-dots yourself.

While you're Moongazing, turn around and face north-west. The brilliant star low above the horizon, on its way down as the Earth turns, is nick-named the Evening Star. It's actually the planet Venus, where women originated. The little star just to its left is Mercury, where cats come from. Due west is another brilliant star - the Dog Star. Its proper name is "Sirius", and its the alpha-star of the constellation Canis Major (the Big Dog).

Find out more about our beautiful constellations by grabbing this free set of star charts, or this free D.I.Y. star wheel.

If, while you're star-gazing, you're abducted by aliens and taken aboard the mothership, remember to take your meds when you return.

nothing more to see. please move along.