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Moon and Regulus on May 30

Tonight – May 30, 2017 – the waxing crescent moon is approaching the star Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion. Although our sky chart at the top if this post is specifically designed for mid-northern latitudes in North America, nearly everyone worldwide can use the moon to find the star Regulus tonight. Just look for the moon in the evening sky. The bright star nearby will be Regulus.

There’s little chance of mistaking another star for Regulus, because Regulus is the only bright object within a stone’s throw of the May 30 moon. The much brighter “star” a long hop to the east (toward the sunrise direction) is a planet, giant Jupiter. You’ll easily see Jupiter. It’s the most brilliant starlike object in the May evening sky. Look for the moon to meet up with Jupiter on June 3.

As viewed from North America, the moon will be to the west (right) of Regulus on May 30 and east (left) of Regulus on May 31 and June 1. From the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand – you’ll see the moon’s position somewhat offset toward the previous dates.

In fact, if you live in Madagascar or along the southeast coast of Africa, you can watch the moon occult (cover over) Regulus on the evening of May 31. The star will slip behind the moon’s dark side and then reappear on its illuminated side. In Antananarivo, Madagascar, the occultation starts at 8:15 p.m. and ends at 9:26 p.m. local time. Click here to learn occultation times for various localities. These times will be in Universal Time, so remember to covert Universal Time to your local time.

Worldwide map via IOTA of the lunar occultation of Regulus on 2017 May 31. The area between solid white lines sees the occultation in a nighttime sky. The short blue lines show where the occultation happens at dusk and the dotted red lines where the occultation takes place in a daytime sky. Click here for more information.

No matter where you live worldwide, the moon always moves eastward relative to backdrop stars (and planets) of the zodiac. That eastward motion in our sky is a translation of the moon’s eastward motion in orbit around Earth. Starting tonight and over the next several days, you can notice the orbital motion of the moon as it sweeps by the star Regulus.

Bottom line: Tonight – May 30, 2017 – the waxing crescent moon is approaching the star Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

Bruce McClure

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