Tonight – March 1, 2015 – the bright waxing gibbous moon is journeying along a stellar pathway, as it nears the bright planet Jupiter in our sky. Tonight’s moon is between bright stars in our evening sky. The stars are the brightest ones in the constellation Gemini – Castor and Pollux – and the star Procyon, the brightest light of the constellation of Canis Minor the Lesser Dog. The moon swings south of the Gemini stars, and north of Procyon.
So watch – at the same time each evening – and note the moon’s change of position relative to the backdrop stars. The green line on the chart above depicts the ecliptic – pathway of the moon and planets. Jupiter and the moon helps you to envision the whereabouts of this great celestial passageway. The Gemini stars shine to the north of the ecliptic and the star Procyon to the south of it.
No matter where you live, however, you can use Jupiter, the Gemini stars and Procyon to imagine the ecliptic – the pathway of the sun, moon and planets – with the mind’s-eye. The sun, moon and planets always pass south of the Gemini stars and north of Procyon. The sun, as a matter of fact, passes through the constellation Gemini the Twins every year from about May 13 to June 21.
Bottom line: On the night of March 1, 2015, the bright waxing gibbous moon is traveling in front of the constellation Gemini, to the south of the constellation’s brightest stars, Castor and Pollux. You’ll also spot the star Procyon, brightest star in Canis Major the Lesser Dog, nearby. The moon is moving toward Jupiter and will be closest to Jupiter on the night of March 2, 2015.