Photo Credit & Copyright: ME. I’ve revised and expanded this monthly segment from the monthly “Lunar Calendar” to “Space Junk.” Within are still all lunar phases except now I have added any other major monthly events from meteor showers to conjunctions, oppositions and points of interest. Check out NASA’s Lunar Phase & Libration video below. I have also listed all resources used to generate these monthly calendars at the bottom of the post! This month we have the BIGGEST Super Moon of 2014, a few close conjunctions, a meteor shower and Neptune reaches opposition.
WERE YOU BORN ON A FULL MOON?! This great page from Moon Giant shows you what phase the Moon was in when you were born; check it out: http://www.moongiant.com/birthday_moon/
AUGUST 1st (Fri) – Entering the month the Moon is 5 days old in its 29.53 day Synodic Cycle and 26% illuminated in its waxing crescent phase.
AUGUST 1st (Fri) – Today is the Lughnasadh Cross Quarter. It occurs at 0640 UTC (0240 EDT) and it marks the exact half way point between the Summer solstice and Autumnal equinox.
AUGUST 1st & 4th (Fri & Mon) – The Moon plays leap frog in the west this week after sunset as on the 1st it’s about 5 degrees from Spica. On the 2nd it’s about 5 degrees or, mid-way between Spica and Mars. On the 3rd it’s about 5 degrees, or mid-way between Mars and Saturn and on the 4th is completes its leaping as its roughly 5 degrees away from Saturn.
AUGUST 2nd (Sat) – The Moon reaches Ascending Node at 1126 UTC (0726 EDT).
AUGUST 3rd (Sun) – MAGINUS SUNRISE RAY will occur at 2208 UTC (1808 EDT). At the right times and as the Sun rises over the Crater Maginus (Near the terminator) a beautiful sun ray shines through a break in the craters eastern wall. The result is a vast triangle or “V” formation of light cast upon the crater floor for a period of a few hours. Maginus Crater (Named after Italian astronomer Giovanni Antonio Magini) is a pre-Nectarian impact crater located in the southern lunar highlands and to the south east of Tycho Crater. It’s 110 miles (177km.) and has been extremely eroded by subsequent impacts on or near the site through the millennia. Its selenographic coordinates (Definition below) are Latitude: 50.5°S / Longitude: 6.3°W.
AUGUST 4th (Mon) – FIRST QUARTER MOON is the Moon watchers paradise. Occurring at 0050 UTC (2050 EDT on the 3rd), First Quarter Moons and the waxing crescent phase leading up to it offer some of the most visually stunning views the Moon has to offer. Most of us will take the beautiful curves, valleys and shadows of a 1st Quarter Moon over a Full Moon ANY day.
AUGUST 4th (Mon) – The 1st quarter Moon occults Saturn for observers in Australia. Here’s a great resource for my southern hemisphere friends: http://nightskyonline.info/?page_id=11301
AUGUST 6th (Wed) – ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft is scheduled to arrive and enter into orbit around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko or “Cherry-Gerry” or just “67P.”
AUGUST 07th (Thu) – The Moon is at its Greatest Southern Declination of -18.49 degrees.
AUGUST 10th (Sun) – The Full Moon “Super Moon” will occur at 1810 UTC (1410 EDT). Full Sturgeon Moon: The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. This Full Moon is the BIGGEST and 4th of 5 “Super Moons” in 2014.
AUGUST 10th (Sun) – PERIGEE MOON (Closest Perigee of 2014) occurs at 1744 UTC (1344 EDT) and is when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. It will be subtending at 33’arc minutes from a distance of 356,896 km (221,764 mi).
AUGUST 11th & 12th (Mon & Tue): Peak of the Perseids meteor shower on the night of the 11th and morning of the 12th. This shower peaks at about 50-75 per hour from the general direction of the constellation Perseus. Unfortunately peak night/morning occurs just two days after the full moon so you will have to contend with the 96% illuminated waning gibbous moon. The added light will likely strip all but the brightest meteorites from view. The parent body of the Perseids Meteor Shower is Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.
Peak night is usually a given night and next morning with the “next morning” being the absolute best time to watch. In fact the closer to morning twilight you can get, the better…..here’s why. If you view the solar system from the top, planets orbit the Sun in a counter clockwise motion, we also rotate in a counter clockwise motion. That means just before sunrise the Earth is pointed in the direction of travel of the Earth itself and meteors are mere “bugs (Or if you prefer; “snowflakes”) hitting the windshield” of Spaceship Earth. For more info on this shower hit the link: https://danspace77.com/2014-meteor-showers/.
AUGUST 15th (Fri) – The Moon reaches Descending Node at 0018 UTC (2018 EDT on the 14th).
AUGUST 17th (Sun) – Last Quarter (3rd Quarter) Moon occurs this month at 1227 UTC (0827 EDT).
AUGUST 18th (Mon) – Look low on the horizon to the east before dawn to witness the two brightest planets & the 3rd & 4th brightest planetary bodies after the Sun & Moon; Venus and Jupiter meeting up for the closest conjunction of the two until August 27, 2016. They will be approximately 1/4 of a degree or about 21′ arcminutes apart on the sky and if you have a clear horizon, easily visible. If you’re keen with the camera, binoculars or telescope look for M44 the Beehive cluster as the conjunction takes place only about 1 degree away. Also, don’t wait, have a look a few night before and a few nights after the conjunction to actually see planetary motions in action as they will gradually close in on each other then slowly part ways.
AUGUST 18th (Mon) – The brilliant Walther Sunset Ray will occur at 0242 UTC (2242 EDT on the 17th). Located in the ancient 145 kilometer (90 mile) Necterian age crater named Walther (Formerly Walter or Valtherus) is a special treat that occurs monthly for a matter of a few hours. On the western rim of the crater there’s a notch and when the Sun is setting low on the lunar horizon (When the crater is near the terminator) light penetrates the notch, creating a vast triangle or “V” shaped light ray across the craters floor that ends as it illuminates the central peak of the crater. Walther Crater a heavily eroded crater located in the Lunar Southern Highlands at the Selenographic Coordinates (Definition below) of Latitude: 33.1°S / Longitude: 1.0°E. It’s named after German astronomer Bernhard Walther. This crater also has a sunrise ray that instead of a light ray is a long shadow cast by the central peak.
AUGUST 19th (Tue) – The Moon reaches its Greatest Northern Declination of +18.45 degrees.
AUGUST 20th (Wed) – AUG 30th (Sat) As of the 20th we are on the verge of August’s new moon (Lunation 1134), this week presents nights that are the absolute BEST nights to get out and observe Deep Sky Objects (DSOs) because you won’t have to look through the spotlight that is the Moon. Night skies without the Moon are significantly more productive for viewing and photography ANY night sky object (besides the Moon itself of course). For the lucky ones, this week offers the amazing spectacle of the extreme crescent moon, both waning in the east & waxing in the west.
AUGUST 24th (Sun) – APOGEE MOON occurs at 0610 UTC (0210 EDT) where the Moon is at its furthest point from Earth in its current orbit and will be subtending at 29’ arc minutes from a distance of 406,522 km (252,601 mi).
AUGUST 25th (Mon) – New Moon (LUNATION 1134) occurs at 1413 UTC (1013 EDT).
AUGUST 29th (Fri) – Ice Giant and last of the planets, Neptune reaches opposition at 1418 UTC (1018 EDT). It resides in the constellation Aquarius and will reach an apparent magnitude of 7.8 so just out of naked eye visibility and achieve an angular size of only 2.4” arcseconds. If you have binoculars or telescope you will at best see a blue point of light but hey, it’s Neptune and it’s a whopping 28.96 AU’s away!
AUGUST 29th (Fri) – The Moon reaches Ascending Node at 1314 UTC (0914 EDT).
AUGUST 31st (Sun) – Leaving the month the Moon is 5 days old in its 29.53 day Synodic Cycle and 30% illuminated in its waxing crescent phase.
***Definition of LIBRATION (basically) – Is an oscillation of an orbiting body relative to another. OK, so…We know the Earth/Moon system is tidally locked so we always see the same side of the moon. Due to libration, we ACTUALLY see about 60% of the Moon instead of what you may intuitively think of as a 50% measurement. That’s because the Moon oscillates slightly as it rotates and orbits Earth. So, on occasion and with a keen eye we can see a little further “around the corner” north, south, east and west on the moon by a couple degrees.
***SUBTENDING Explained – Definition: The angle formed by an object at a given external point. The moon subtends an angle of approximately 0.54° (32 arc minutes) to an observer on the Earth. Of course, the moon’s orbit is not constant or exactly circular, so this varies a little, but not by very much. If you hold up your thumb at arm’s length, you can easily cover the full moon. This means your thumb subtends a larger angle to your eye at arm’s length than the moon does at 380,000 kilometers. In general, the closer you are to a particular object the larger that subtending angle.
***SELENOGRAPHIC COORDINATES Defined – Selenographic coordinates are used to refer to locations on the surface of Earth’s Moon. Any position on the lunar surface can be referenced by specifying two numerical values, which are comparable to the latitude and longitude of Earth. The longitude gives the position east or west of the Moon’s prime meridian, which is the line of longitude passing through the point on the lunar surface directly facing Earth. (See also Earth’s prime meridian.) This can be thought of as the midpoint of the visible Moon as seen from the Earth. The latitude gives the position north or south of the lunar equator. Both of these coordinates are given in terms of degrees. Astronomers defined the fundamental location in the selenographic coordinate system by the small, bowl-shaped satellite crater ‘Mösting A’. The coordinates of this crater are defined as: Latitude: 3° 12′ 43.2″ South / Longitude: 5° 12′ 39.6″ West. The coordinate system has become precisely defined due to the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment. Anything past 90°E or 90°W would not be seen from Earth, except for libration, which makes 59% of the Moon visible.
NASA | Moon Phase and Libration North Up 2014: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKRtZ89AMts
2014 Moon phases with TIMES: http://www.calendar-12.com/moon_phases/2014
FULL YEAR of Lunar Cycles: Previous and Future years as well: http://kalender-365.de/lunar-calendar.php?yy=2014
2014 Moon phase & illumination calendar: http://www.calendar-12.com/moon_calendar/2014/june
Full & New Moon Calendar: http://www.moongiant.com/Full_Moon_New_Moon_Calendar.php
BLUE MOON Calendar: http://www.moongiant.com/Blue_Moon_Calendar.php
SUPERMOON Calendar: http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/cen21ce/suprmoon.html
2014 Perigee & Apogee DATES, TIMES & DISTANCES as well as Full & New Moon dates & times: http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html
2014 Perigee & Apogee: http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/distance.html
Lunar Ray predictions: http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/rays/rays.htm
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times: http://www.40-below.com/sunmoon/
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times for the DAY: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php
Sun/Moon Rise & Set times for the YEAR: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php
Farmer’s Almanac Full Moon Names: http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/
Lunar ASCENDING & DESCENDING Nodes: http://astropixels.com/ephemeris/moon/moonnodes2001.html
Greatest NORTHERN & SOUTHERN Declinations of the Moon: http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/cen21ce/mo-dcl-2014.html
Moon Phases for ANY date: http://www.moonpage.com/
NASA GODDARD Moon NOW: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a004100/a004118/
Moon right NOW: http://www.calculatorcat.com/moon_phases/phasenow.php
Moon right NOW: http://www.die.net/moon/
Moon right NOW: http://www.calendar-365.com/moon/current-moon-phase.html
NASA JPL Ephemeris Calculator: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?horizons
Lunar Ephemeris Calculator: http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/ephemeris.htm
Sunrise & Sunset CHART: http://sunrisehour.com/sunrise-sunset/united_states/boston_ma
Kilometers (km) to miles (mi.) converter: http://www.metric-conversions.org/length/kilometers-to-miles.htm