Our Moon for July 18th through July 21st, 45 minutes after sunset


The software for this image is free and can be found at http://www.stellarium.org/.

It's also great to use if you want to know what the Moon looks like three days or three years from now.

It's very easy to use! (My fireflies are rugged in all weather conditions!)

Total Eclipse of the Moon on July 27 - 28, 2018 as seen in the eastern hemisphere

Need a graphic showing the times for your country? Just let me know...no charge!

To begin with, the animation above is an exaggeration of the size of Mars as seen from Earth during opposition. Mars will reach opposition on July 27th. But before that, as seen from Earth, Mars will begin to travel backwards, east to west, on June 28th, and resume its eastward motion on August 28th. If we were to trace out the path of Mars, as seen above, you will see the red planet form a loop in the sky.


I might add that Mars reaches its closest approach to Earth on July 31st. At that time, it will be 35 million miles from us at an apparent magnitude of -2.55. This makes Mars the fourth brightest object in the sky with the Moon and Sun being brighter. And, Mars opposition occurs on the same day as the full Moon.


A side note: Mars was exceptionally close to Earth back on August 27, 2003. Mars reaches this point every 15 or 16 years in relationship to the Earth. This year, Mars is off by nearly a month.



FULL SCREEN IT! This animation was a tough nut to crack! I wanted to do this graphic to where the planets lined up exactly, to show the looping motion correctly as seen from Earth for this year. I believe it worked!


Anyway, this animated graph shows the orbits of Earth and Mars from May 1st through October 25th. Every two years or so, Mars and Earth line up. When this happens, Mars begins to travel backward in the sky. The beginning of the backward motion starts on June 28th, and it will end August 28. This is how we see it from the surface of the Earth. If were hundreds of millions away from the solar system, as seen above it, we would see both Mars and Earth moving in the same direction in their orbits. Why?


Think of it this way. Imagine that we are in a racecar (Earth), on the inside track (circular), with another racecar (Mars) on the outside track. The inner racecar is behind the outer. As we catch up and surpass the outer racecar, we notice that the outer car is slowing down, relative to us, and eventually starts moving backward. Eventually, the outer car resumes its forward motion. Simple!


Mars reaches its closest approach to Earth on July 31st. On the 27th, Mars will be at opposition, or when Earth and Mars will be in a straight line with the Sun. This opposition is the closest Earth and Mars has been since August 2003!


Music - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.2


Partial Solar Eclipse on August 11, 2018

The Sun will be partially eclipsed, off the north Siberian shores (~30 miles) out in the East Siberian Sea. The Moon will block up to 73.6% of the Sun at that location. Before the eclipse ends, the Sun will set (as you can see in the animation).


Seoul Korea will see the eclipse setting before reaching the maximum phase of the eclipse. The Sun will set before the eclipse ends in Nanyuan China, but this will occur after reaching maximum partial phase.


A few major cities will see this event including Moscow, Oslo, Reykjavik, Nuuk, and Astana. I included a town on the northern shores of Scotland called Thurso (which will see very little of the partial eclipse). (I darkened three of the names of the cities because of poor contrast in the background; thus, there is no significance implied in doing that.)


This is the last of the three eclipses in a four week period from July 13th to August 11th with July 27 being a total eclipse of the Moon, and the other two being partial solar eclipses. Enjoy!

The Big Dipper on June 5th as seen from Australia and USA. What a big difference!

A friend of mine in Australia, and I, took a picture of the Big Dipper on the same night (June 2017). Near summer twilight was interfering with me which is why my photo was brighter and blue, while late fall allowed my friend to take his photo soon after sunset. Because of the curvature of the Earth, springtime (or late fall for my friend in this case) is the only time the Big Dipper can be seen in Australia during the evening hours. Of course, in the mid to north latitudes, the dipper can be seen all night long, and all year long, because it is circumpolar. And, of course, the north star (Polaris) cannot be seen in Australia.

Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14, 2023

Annular eclipse of the Sun as seen from North and South America on October 14, 2023. An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is smaller than the Sun; thus, the annulus forms around the edge of the Moon. Which also means this is not a total eclipse of the Sun. The Moon's diameter will only cover 97.6% of the disc of the Sun. The path of annularity will begin off the shores of Oregon. The center of the path of the shadow will traverse the western parts of the states.


The seconds half of the journey will carry the shadow across Central America and end off the shores of Brazil. The maximum or greatest eclipse will occur off the shores of Belize. Greatest eclipse will be 97.6%. Again, this is not a total eclipse.


All 50 states will get to see some part of the eclipse. Hawaii will see the the least amount with the Sun rising with the eclipse already in progress (less than 10% coverage). All of North America will see a partial eclipse. The southern portion of South America will not see anything! Next significant eclipse for the US will be on April 8, 2024, which will be total!

Total Solar Eclipse On December 4, 2021 Over Antarctica

A fantastic view of our Moon from the satellite, LRO!

Past photos and graphic

July 18, 2018