A PUBLICATION OF THE PLACENCIA CHAPTER OF THE BELIZE TOURISM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
Night Skies over Placencia:
That Really Bright Light in the Eastern Sky?
The Planet Venus, NOT a Moorings Mast Light!
By the 21st June, the planet Mars will be snuggling up to the planet Venus, so it’s quite a bright ‘star show’ right now in the early morning sky!
If you are a pre-dawn riser, you can see this love-fest for yourself. That is in spite of the fact that the planet Venus shows only about 25 percent of its lit side and 75 percent of its dark side right now (Venus goes through phases, much like our moon).
By the way, here's how the moon's phases really come about:
The moon is a sphere that travels once around the Earth every 29.5 days. As it does this, it is illuminated from varying angles by the sun. At "new moon," the moon is between the Earth and sun, so that the side of the moon facing towards us receives no direct sunlight, and is lit only by dim sunlight reflected from the Earth. As it moves around the Earth, the side we can see gradually becomes more illuminated by direct sunlight.
After a week, the moon is 90° away from the sun in the sky and is half illuminated, what we call "first quarter" because it is about a quarter of the way around the Earth.
A week after this, the moon is 180° away from the sun, so that sun, Earth and moon form a line. The moon is fully illuminated by the sun, so this is called "full moon." This is the only time in the whole month when the Earth's shadow is anywhere close to the moon. The Earth's shadow points towards the moon at this time, but usually the moon passes above or below the shadow and no eclipse occurs.
A week later the moon has moved another quarter of the way around the Earth, to the third quarter position. The sun's light is now shining on the other half of the visible face of the moon.
Finally, a week later, the moon is back to its new moon starting position. Usually it passes above or below the sun, but occasionally it passes right in front of the sun, and we get an eclipse of the sun.
So, the moon's phases are not caused by the shadow of the Earth falling on the
moon. In fact the shadow of the Earth falls on the moon only twice a year, when there are lunar eclipses. Moon facts compliments of amateur astronomer Geoff Gaherty, Foxmead Observatory in Coldwater, Ontario, Canada.
Speaking of the Moon: phases for June 2009 are Full Moon June 7, Last Quarter June 15, New Moon June 22, First Quarter June 29, and Full July 7, Last Quarter July 15, New Moon July 21 and First Quarter July 28.
Fishing will be Good: June 14 and 15 and July 11, 12 and 20; Better: June 4, 15, and 26 and July 3, 21 and 28; and Best: June 23 and 24 and July 1, 2, 29.
Anyway, let’s go fishing!
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