March 31, 2020

Spot the Lunar High- & Low-lands with the Naked Eye!

Did you happen to notice that the Moon was fat and nearly full Halloween night? The technical full Moon for November falls today, Monday the 2nd, at 2:14 PM EST (yes we’re back on standard time now; did you get to work an hour early this morning?) Of course, the full Moon, like all phases, only occurs at an instant in time. That instant is the time that the Moon is exactly 180 degrees, or 12 hours of right ascension opposite to the Sun.

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Your Chance to Name a Moon!

This is a quick call to arms: astronomer Mike Brown is asking for your help in naming s/1 90482 (2005), a moon of the Kuiper Belt Object Orcus, infamously touted as “the anti-Pluto…”  Mike will be entertaining entries until Sunday, April 5th, 2009…there is already quite a lively banter on his blog linked above!

Our two cents? My top pick would be Vanth, the Etruscan goddess of the dead. This has the advantage of sticking to the underworld mythos as set by Pluto, as well as the Etruscan pedigree set by Orcus…plus Vanth is original and just sounds cool! Another pick could be Lilith, the Mesopotamian demi-goddess, which was once proposed to be a second, hypothetical “anti-moon” of Earth. One down side of Lilith is that a minor planet already shares this name. A final thought would be “Nox”, the Roman counterpart to Nix, one of Pluto’s newly discovered moons…reading through the other comments, there seems to be enough momentum for Vanth to consider it a movement…