A MOVING MOON

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drawings by Erika Rix, Liberty Hill, Texas

Last night, we were treated to a very close appulse between the Moon and Jupiter - what a beautiful sight! We'll have to wait until the year 2026 for a closer pairing. The Moon was 78% illuminated at 10.34 days lunation and was just below 70 degrees in altitude at 2200 local time on January 21st (0400UT on the 22nd). Europa transited Jupiter during the session, although I was so busy with the low magnification sketching sessions that I missed it. Three other Galilean moons were aligned and plainly visible through the telescope: Ganymede, Io and Callisto (E-W). While setting up the 102mm refractor between 1800-1830 ST, it was easy to spot the Moon and Jupiter naked eye to the south. My first sketch of the event was at 1904 ST (0104UT) and Jupiter was 1 degree away from the Moon. Nearly a half hour later at 2017UT, there was a 0.73 degree separation. By the time I completed the final sketch, the pair was its closest separation of 0.67 degree.

Erika Rix
CAW Note: Finally, after many weeks the sky is clear and the Moon is visible. But I am too much of a fair weather astronomer to observe - the temperature is 9°F = -13°C.

Technical Details
All sketches were done at the eyepiece and then flipped horizontally for better comparison to a naked eye view. The sketches created with black Strathmore Artagain paper, white Conté pastel pencil and color pencil, black color pencil.

Related Links
Erika's website


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