Archive for December, 2007

December 2007

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Winter Solstice

Winter begins on December 21st when the Winter Solstice occurs. The Winter Solstice occurs when the tilt of the Earth is pointed directly away from the Sun.  This point marks the beginning of Winter.  The Winter Solstice has the shortest amount of daylight and the longest night.

Lunar Events

The new moon for December occurs on Sunday, December 9th.  This makes the weekend of December 8th-9th as the best weekend for dark sky viewing.

The Full moon will occur on December 23rd and will rise within 0°30’ of the planet Mars which will achieve Opposition on the next day, Christmas Eve.  The December 23rd full moon is known as the “Full Wolf Moon” or the “Full Old Moon” or the “Moon after Yule”.

Mercury

Due to its proximity to the Sun, Mercury will not be visible until it reappears in the evening sky at the end of the first week on January.  During December Mercury will pass invisibly through 4 constellations.  Mercury starts the month in the constellation Libra, the Balance, and immediately passes into the constellation Scorpius, The Scorpion, on December 2nd. On the 6th of December, Mercury will move into the constellation Ophiuchus, The Serpent Bearer, where it will stay until December 18th when it passed into the constellation Sagittaurius, The Archer.

Venus

Venus, Moon & Spica

December 5th, Venus, The Moon and Spica in close proximity

Venus is the Morning Star all month.  Venus begins December in the constellation Virgo, The Maiden, only about 4°40′ from the star Spica and, on December 11th, Venus moves into the constellation Libra, The Balance.

Venus & Spica

Venus and Spica position on December 7th, 2007

Mars

Mars Opposition and M35

Mars comes into Oppostion on Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2007

within 4°30" of the Open Cluster M35.

Mars will be in Opposition on December 24th, Christmas Eve. Do to its proximity to its opposition Mars is visible all night, rising as the sun sets and setting as the sun rises. This is a fantastic time to view Mars since it’s opposition also coincides with it being closest to the Earth in their respective orbits.

Mars, Moon and M35

The day before opposition on December 23rd Mars will rise within

0°30’ of the Full Wolf Moon and within 2°30’ of the open cluster

known as M35.

Mars is moving in retrograde motion through the constellation Gemini, The Twins, for almost the entire month. For the later half of the month Mars is in the proximity of M35 and passes into the constellation Taurus, The Bull, on December 30th.

Jupiter

Jupiter

December 7, 2007 - The position on Jupiter as it disappears into the

glare of the evening sun at sunset.

Jupiter is visible just after sunset for the first two weeks of December, after which it will disappear into the glare of the sun. Jupiter will reappear in the morning after New Years.

Jupiter begins December in the constellation Ophiuchus, The Serpent Bearer, but almost immediately crosses into the constellation Sagittarus, the Archer, on December 2nd, where it will finish out the year.

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Leo, The Lion, until the year 2009.

Saturn and Moon

Around midnight on the morning of December 1st, Saturn will rise

within 2° 30’ of the Last Quarter Moon.

Saturn and Moon

On December 28th, Saturn will set with 4° of the waning,

gibbous moon.

Uranus

Uranus is located in the constellation Aquarius, The Water Bearer, until the year 2009.  Uranus may be located in the evening all month and sets around midnight near the beginning of the month. By the end of the month, Uranus will be setting around 10pm.

Uranus and Neptune and Moon

The position on Uranus, Neptune and the Moon on

December 15th, 2007

Neptune

Neptune is located in the constellation Capricornus, The Sea Goat, until the year 2010.  Neptune may be located in the evening all month and sets around 10pm near the beginning of the month. By the end of the month, Neptune will be setting around 8pm.

Pluto

Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius, The Archer, until the year 2023.  Always difficult to see, Pluto will be unobservable behind the glare of the sun and will reappear in the morning sky in early January.

Pluto, Jupiter and Venus

On January 1st, 2008 Pluto and Jupiter emerge from the morning

glare of sunrise.


Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes
Information on the Hosting Grant Program sponsored by Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes.net.