Posts Tagged ‘Uranus’

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.

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.

Many Astronomical Events Coming Up!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

September is a busy month: besides Jupiter and Uranus reaching opposition at the same time, Mercury will reach its greatest western elongation, and the Autumnal Equinox and harvest moon will occur.

Mercury will reach its greatest western elongation on September 19. It will rise over an hour before sunrise and should be a great telescope target in the eastern sky into late September. It will appear at its highest and brightest point on the 19th.

The Autumnal Equinox occurs September 22 and the harvest moon follows September 23. The harvest moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox, called that because its rising time nearly overlaps the setting sun so farmers could continue the harvest into the night hours due to the moon’s light. Since the Autumnal Equinox, when the sun rises due east and sets due west (everywhere except at the poles), is on September 22, the full moon the following night (September 23) is the harvest moon.

Please Note: The above article is made possible by the research and writing of JJ Stamm - Thank you JJ


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