Posts Tagged ‘Mercury’

December 2010

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

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 5th, which makes the weekend on December 4-5 the best possible weekend for dark sky observing this month.

Winter begins this year with a Full Moon and a Umbral Lunar Eclipse on December 21st.  This full moon is the Full Cold Moon or Moon before Yule using the Astronomical Seasons Rule and is the Full Wolf Moon using the Maine Rule.

The Umbral Lunar Eclipse:

Partial Preumbral Stage begins 9:32:30 pm (PST) (-166 minutes)
Partial Phase begins 10:34:30 pm (PST) (-104 minutes)
Total phase begins 11:42:30 pm (PST) (-36 minutes)
Umbral Lunar Eclipse is at maximum 12/21/2010 12:18:30 am (PST)
Total phase ends 12:54:30 pm (PST) (+36 minutes)
Partial Phase ends 2:02:30 pm (PST) (+104 minutes)
Partial Preumbral Stage ends 3:04:30 pm (PST) (+166 minutes)



This movie shows the December 21st, 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse as view from Los Anges. Each frame is one minute.



This movie shows the December 21st, 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse as view from the Moon. Each frame is one minute.

Mercury

Mercury begins December in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until December 21st when it moves into the constellation Ophicuchus (The Serpent Bearer).

Mercury GEE
Mercury reaches it best viewing position for evening on December 1st,
when it reaches it Greatest Eastern Elongation.  At that time it will be

21°27’28” from the Sun and sets about 1 hour, 26 minutes after sunset.
 

Mercury is observable during the evening hours of December until mid-month when it disappears into the glare of the sunset and re-emerges into the morning hours around December 25th.

On December 13th, Mars is within 1°05’ of Mercury and within 5°30’ of Pluto. Mars, Mercury and Pluto

Venus

Venus is the Morning Star all month and begins December in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 12th, when it moves into the constellation Libra (The Balance).

V2enus and Moon On December 2nd, the waning, crescent moon will pass within 6°50’ of Venus.

Venus and Moon
On December 31st, the waning, crescent moon will pass within 7°20’ of Venus.

Mars

Mars can be observed during the early evening hours of December.  Mars sets around 6:40 pm (PST) at the start of the month and by the end, sets around 6:25 pm (PST).

Mars starts this month located in the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer) and quickly moves into the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) on December 2nd.

Mars, Mercury, Pluto and Moon
On December 6th, Mars, Mercury, Pluto and the waxing,crescent moon are grouped within 7°25’ of each other.

On December 13 Mars is within 1°05’ of Mercury and within 5°30’ of Pluto. Mars and Mercury and Pluto

Jupiter

Jupiter is observable from the evening to the very early morning hours of December. At the start of December  Jupiter sets around 1:40 am (PST) and by the end of the month Jupiter sets around 11:55 pm (PST).

Jupiter begins this month in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer) until December 17th, when it moves into the constellation Pisces (The Fish).

Jupiter and Uranus
December 31st - Jupiter is a mere 0°40′ from Uranus.
As the month progresses Jupiter moves closer to Uranus. At the start of this month Jupiter is less than 3° or Uranus and by the end of the month Jupiter is a mere 0°40’ away.  Jupiter is a great starting point to located Uranus.
On December 12th, the First Quarter Moon passes within 11°20’ of Jupiter. Jupiter, Uranus and Moon

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 2012.  Saturn is observable from the very early morning hours of December.  Saturn rises around 3:20 am (PST) at the start of this month and by the end of December rises around 1:30am (PST).

Saturn and Moon
On December 1st, the waning, crescent Moon rises within 8°05’ of Saturn.

Saturn and Moon On December 28th, the last quarter Moon passes within 8°40’ of Saturn.

Uranus

Uranus is observable in close proximity to Jupiter during the evening and very early morning hours of December.  Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until May 2012.

Jupiter and Uranus
December 31st - Jupiter is a mere 0°40′ from Uranus.
As the month progresses Jupiter moves closer to Uranus. At the start of this month Jupiter is less than 3° or Uranus and by the end of the month Jupiter is a mere 0°40’ away.  Jupiter is a great starting point to located Uranus.
On December 12, the First Quarter Moon passes less than 13° of Uranus. Jupiter, Uranus and Moon

Neptune

Neptune is observable during the evening hours of the month. Neptune sets around 11:25 pm (PST) at the first of the month and by the end of December Neptune set around 9:30 pm (PST).

Neptune and Moon On December 10th, the waxing, crescent Moon sets less than 5°40’ of Neptune.

Pluto

Pluto is observable during the evening hours during the first half of December.  At the start of the Month, Pluto sets around 7:35 pm (PST) and by December 12th, has disappeared into the glare of the Sunset.

November 2010

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Lunar Events

The New Moon for November occurs on Friday, November 5th, which makes the weekend of November 6-7 a fantastic weekend for dark sky observing.

The Full Moon for November occurs on November 21st.  This Full Moon is the Full Cold Moon by the “Maine Rule” (Maine Farmer’s Almanac), but is a “Blue Moon” by the “Astronomical Seasons Rule.”

The difference between the “Maine Rule” and the “Astronomical Seasons Rule” is at the point when the season begins and end.  The “Maine Rule” assumes the Vernal Equinox as March 20th and then assumes the year is equally divided by a fictitious circular orbit of a mean, average Earth, which fixes the season to begin and end on March 20th, June 21st, September 22nd and December 21st.  The “Astronomical Seasons Rule” starts the Seasons on the Equinoxes and Solstices of the year.

Normally these two systems are in sync however on the Winter Solstice of 2010 there is a Full Moon occurring between the midnight that starts the solstice and the actual astronomical solstice (In Pacific Standard Time where I calculate this from – your mileage may vary depending on your timezone.). This moves the “extra Full Moon” from Winter 2011 into Autumn 2010 in the “Astronomical Seasons Rule.” The two systems will be out-of-sync until the Vernal Equinox of 2011.

Note: The “Blue Moon” for the “Maine Rule” occurs February 18th, 2011.

Maine Rule Winter Solstice Midnight (PST)
Full Moon 12:14:35 am (PST) (Last full moon of Autumn by the “Astronomical Seasons Rule” or the First full moon of Winter via the “Maine Rule.”)
Astronomical Winter Solstice 3:39:35 pm (PST)

Celestial Events

Daylight Savings Times ends in the Unites States on November 7th remember to “fall back.”

Mercury

Mercury emerges into the evening hours around November 4th and is visible in the evening for the rest of the month.

Mercury starts this month in the constellation Libra (The Balance) and on November 8th moves into the constellation Scorpius (The Scorpian).  On November 14th Mercury moves into the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer).  On November 18th, Mercury crosses a corner of Scorpius and returns to Ophiuchus a few hours later. Finally, on November 27th, Mercury crosses into the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer).

Mercury and Moon
On November 6 the waxing, crescent moon passes within 2° of Mercury.

Mercury and Mars
The planets Mercury in Mars is pass within 1°45’ of each other on
November 19th.

Venus

Venus is the Morning Star and is located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) for the entire month of November.  Venus is moving in retrograde motion until November 20th when it returns moving toward the East.

On November 5th, the waning, crescent moon passes with 0°25’ of Venus. Venus and Moon

Mars

Mars is observable in the early evening hours of November.  At the beginning of the month Mars sets around 7:15 pm (PDT) and by the end of the month, Mars sets around 5:40 pm (PST).

Mars begins November in the constellation Scorpius (The Scorpian) and on November 7th, Mars moves into the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer).

Mars and Moon
On November 7th the waxing, crescent moon passes within 2°30’ of Mars.

Mercury and Mars
The planets Mercury in Mars is pass within 1°45’ of each other on
November 19th.

Jupiter

Jupiter is observable until the very early morning hours of November in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer) for the entire month.

Jupiter, Uranus and Moon On November 16th, the waxing, gibbous moon passes within 6°30’ of Jupiter.

Saturn

Saturn is located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden)until December 2012. Saturn is observable during the morning hours of November before sunrise.

Saturn and Moon
On November 3rd, the waning, crescent moon passes within 8° of Saturn.

Uranus

Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until May 2012. Uranus is located in proximity to Jupiter still and is visible until the very early morning hours of November. Uranus sets around 3:50 am (PDT) at the start of November, and by the end of the month sets around 1:00 am (PST).

On November 16th, the waxing, gibbous moon passes within 7°20’ of Uranus. Jupiter, Uranus and Moon

Neptune

Neptune is located in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until January 2011. Neptune is located visible until the very early morning hours of November. Neptune sets around 1:25 am (PDT) at the start of November, and by the end of the month sets around 10:35 pm (PST).

Neptune and Moon On November 13th, the First Quarter passes within 4°05’ of Neptune.

Pluto

Pluto is observable during the evening hours of November and sets around 9:30 pm (PDT) at the start of the month.  By the end of November Pluto sets around 6:35 pm (PST).  Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until the year 2023.

Pluto and Moon
On November 9th, the waxing crecent moon passes within 5°25’ of Pluto.

October 2010

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Lunar Events

The New Moon for October occurs on Thursday, October 7th, which makes the weekend of October 9-10 as the best weekend for dark sky observing this month.

Since the Full Moon of November was the Harvest Moon, the Full Moon on October 22nd is the Hunter’s Moon.

At the end of October the Moon passes two prominent star clusters.

Moon and M45
On October 25th the waning, gibbous moon passes about 2° from the asterism Pleiades (M45).

Moon and M44
On October 30th, the Last Quarter Moon passes within 4°30′ of the Beehive Cluster (M44).

Mercury

Mercury begins this month in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until October 25th then it crosses into the constellation Libra (The Balance).

October 8th finds Mercury and Saturn in conjunction passing within 0°35′ from each other. Mercury and Saturn

Unfortunately Mercury returns into the glare of the morning sunrise early in the month, around Ocotober 3rd, and will be difficult to observe for almost the entire month.

Venus

Moving in retrograde, Venus is the Evening Star for October and begins this month in the constellation Libra (The Balance) a mere 6°30′ from the planet Mars. On October 19th, Venus moves into the constellation Virgo (The Maiden).

Venus, Mars and Moon On October 9th, Venus, Mars and the waxing, crescent moon are found together only about 7°45′ apart.
By October 21st, Venus sets at the same time as the Sunset, however it is far enough South that it might still be visible at sunset. Venus
Venus By October 30th, Venus rises with the sunrise again it is far enough south that it show be visible at this time.

Mars

Mars is observable all month during the evening hours of October.  Mars begins the month in the constellation Libra (The Balance) and on October 27th crosses into the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion).

At the start of October Mars sets around 8:00 pm (PDT) and by the end of the month sets around 7:15 pm (PDT).

Venus and Mars
On October 4th, Venus and Mars pass within 6°35’ of each other

On October 9th, Venus, Mars and the waxing, crescent moon are found together only about 7°45′ apart. Venus, Mars and Moon

Jupiter

Jupiter is observable all month, all night.  Jupiter can be found in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) at the start of October and on October 14th crosses into the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer).

Uranus is in close proximity to Jupiter all month and finding Jupiter is a good first step to finding Uranus. At the beginning of October Jupiter and Uranus are less than 1°30’ from each other, as Jupiter, in retrograde,  moves away from and by the end of the month they are still only 3°15’ apart. 

Jupiter, Uranus and Moon
On October 19th, Jupiter, Uranus and the waxing, gibbous moon are all within 6° from each other.

Saturn

Saturn, located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 2012, emerges into the morning hours around October 18th. Saturn is observable the latter half of the month and by the end of October rises around 5:05 am (PDT).

Uranus

Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until May 2012.  Uranus is visible all night, all month.

Uranus is in close proximity to Jupiter all month and finding Jupiter is a good first step to finding Uranus. At the beginning of October Jupiter and Uranus are less than 1°30’ from each other, as Jupiter, in retrograde,  moves away from and by the end of the month they are still only 3°15’ apart. 

Jupiter, Uranus and Moon
On October 19th, Jupiter, Uranus and the waxing, gibbous moon are all within 6° from each other.

Neptune

Neptune is located in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until January 2011. Neptune is observable until the very early morning hours. At the start of October Neptune sets around 3:30 am (PDT) and by the end of the month Neptune sets around 1:30 am (PDT).

Neptune and Moon
On October 17th, the waxing, gibbous Moon passes within 4°20’ of Neptune.

Pluto

Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until the year 2023.  Pluto can be observed this month during the evening and late evening hours. Pluto sets around 11:30 pm (PDT) at the start of October and by the end of the month  sets around 9:32 pm (PDT).

PLuto
October 15th - Pluto’s relative position in the month of October.


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