Moon and Taurus before dawn August 23-25 | 8/22/2019 | Bruce McClure
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Unless you’re a night owl, you probably won’t see the moon and the constellation Taurus the Bull climbing up into your sky before your bedtime. Your best view will be before dawn, or before the beginning of astronomical twilight, on August 23, 24 and 25. That’s because the moon and Taurus climb highest up just before daybreak.

Click here to find out when dawn’s first light (astronomical twilight) begins in your sky, remembering to check the astronomical twilight box.

Chart - Top - Latitudes - Moon - Front

The chart at top is designed for mid-northern North American latitudes. Even so, the moon will still be passing in front of this constellation as seen from around the world. Before dawn on these dates in the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand – look for the moon to be offset toward the previous date. The farther east you live, the greater the offset.

On the morning of August 23, the moon is at or near its half-illuminated last quarter phase, as it passes to the south of the Pleiades star cluster. The following day, August 24, finds the moon sweeping to the north of Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus.

Side - Moon - Moon - Direction - Travel

The lit side of a waning moon always points eastward, or in the moon’s direction of travel through the constellations of the zodiac. Relative to the backdrop stars, the moon travels eastward at the rate of about 1/2 degree (the moon’s own angular diameter) per hour. Hence, from around the world, the moon will appear closer to the star Aldebaran on August 24 than on August 23.

When the moon is far enough north of the ecliptic, it can occult the Pleiades star cluster – or even the star Elnath. On the other hand, when the moon resides south of the ecliptic, it can occult the star Aldebaran....
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