As our planet revolves around the sun, the sun appears to shift its position gradually from day to day, tracing out a path against the background of more distant stars called the ecliptic. The ecliptic passes through a band of 12 constellations called the zodiac. As our sun makes its yearly trek through the ecliptic, it can always be found in one of the constellations of the zodiac. Because the planets and moon move in the ecliptic plane or the same flat plane as Earth's orbit, we will always find them in the constellations of the zodiac near the ecliptic as well.
This week, stargazers can observe the waxing gibbous moon after sunset as it travels from Gemini to Virgo. Tonight, the 9-day-old gibbous moon will sit in the southern sky about 7 degrees below Jupiter in Gemini then move into Cancer by Wednesday. After traveling through Leo on Friday, stargazers can find the full moon rising in the east at sunset on Sunday in Virgo.