Jon U. Bell

Sky Watch Host

Ways to Connect

The moon is in its waxing gibbous phase. That’s when it looks egg-shaped; but give it a couple of more days and it will be all the way round and full. Last night it appeared nearby the planet Jupiter, what astronomers call a conjunction. It looks like the two are right next to each other, but of course, they’re not, it’s just a line-of-sight effect. Jupiter is several hundred million miles away, while the moon is just a scant 240,000 miles from us.

Solar and lunar eclipses happen whenever the Earth, sun and moon line up. Solar eclipses happen at new moon, and lunar eclipses happen at full moon. The alignment has to be just about perfect, otherwise the shadows of the earth or moon never touch down upon the other. This coming summer, August 21st, there will be a total solar eclipse, but you’ll need to travel north or west to see it; from Florida it will appear only as a partial eclipse, which is interesting, but not spectacular. Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium will present a show about eclipses this weekend.