Ascending node and descending node don’t mean much to the casual astronomer. But some experienced astronomers like to know when the moon is crossing the ecliptic. That’s the line the sun appears to travel on during the year as the earth orbits. Ascending node is when the moon goes north of the ecliptic. Descending node is when it goes south.

It is important to understand that the ecliptic is at an angle to the celestial equator. So the moon may be at ascending node yet appear to be far south in the sky and vice versa.

The moon must be close to a node for an eclipse to happen. You will find that for every eclipse, the moon is at one node or the other no more than a day or two before or after the eclipse.

The times of the nodes below for 2017 are in Universal Time.

Jan-02 18:17 Moon at descending node.
Jan-15 10:49 Moon at ascending node.
Jan-29 22:24 Moon at descending node.
Feb-11 19:52 Moon at ascending node.
Feb-26 06:31 Moon at descending node.
Mar-11 04:20 Moon at ascending node.
Mar-25 15:44 Moon at descending node.
Apr-07 09:17 Moon at ascending node.
Apr-21 22:33 Moon at descending node.
May-04 10:46 Moon at ascending node.
May-19 01:34 Moon at descending node.
May-31 12:00 Moon at ascending node.
Jun-15 02:44 Moon at descending node.
Jun-27 16:30 Moon at ascending node.
Jul-12 05:21 Moon at descending node.
Jul-25 00:50 Moon at ascending node.
Aug-08 10:59 Moon at descending node.
Aug-21 10:37 Moon at ascending node.
Sep-04 18:44 Moon at descending node.
Sep-17 18:32 Moon at ascending node.
Oct-02 02:08 Moon at descending node.
Oct-14 22:14 Moon at ascending node.
Oct-29 06:45 Moon at descending node.
Nov-10 22:44 Moon at ascending node.
Nov-25 08:27 Moon at descending node.
Dec-08 00:43 Moon at ascending node.
Dec-22 10:09 Moon at descending node.

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