Crescent Moon

The crescent moon hugs close to the southwestern sky tonight. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Leo and will be entering into the zodiacal constellation Virgo tomorrow night.

On Monday, the moon is first quarter and appears near Spica, the brightest star in Virgo. On Tuesday night, the moon approaches the bright planet Saturn.

Saturn

Full Moon Fever, Chronicling Horseshoe Crab Couplings

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25, the tide in Lake Tashmoo reached its highest point and began to roll back. Susie Bowman, a naturalist and teacher at Mass Audubon’s Felix Neck wildlife sanctuary, was there to mark the change with her husband, Woody. After Mrs. Bowman marked the tide’s apex, she began measuring out five-meter by five-meter quadrants in which they would search for pairs of mating horseshoe crabs. This is the couple’s fifth year of horseshoe crab surveying at Lake Tashmoo.

Moon, Venus and Menemsha

A thin crescent moon next to the bright planet Venus will appear above the horizon right after sunset on Wednesday. If the weather is fair, one of the best spots on the Vineyard will likely be Menemsha after the sunset.

Menemsha is the ideal spot to watch as it offers an unencumbered view of the western horizon. There are other places around the Vineyard, such as West Chop, Cape Pogue lighthouse and even the Gay Head light.    

Extreme Tide Range Expected This Weekend

Tides will run higher and lower than normal this weekend.

The extreme range is tied to two astronomical events: a full moon on June 23 during a time when the moon is near the earth.

The earth’s tides are created by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon. Usually the pull is greatest when the moon is either full or in the new moon phase. On Saturday, the moon is full and also closer to the earth, in perigee.

First Quarter Moon

The moon dominates the early hours of evening in the southwestern sky.

On Sunday night the first quarter moon enters the zodiacal constellation Virgo. It takes three days for the moon to pass through this large and long constellation.

On Tuesday night the gibbous moon appears near Spica, the brightest star in the constellation and the principal star in Virgo. It has a blueish white tint. Spica is actually two stars or, in other words, a binary star. These two stars are too close together to be seen separately in a telescope. They orbit each other in four days.