Posts Tagged ‘Winter Solstice’

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.

December 2009

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

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 Wednesday, December 16th, which will make the weekends on December 12th – 13th and Decemeber 19th – 20th as both good weekends for dark sky observing.

There are two Full Moons in December. The first Full Moon occurs on December 1st and is known as the “Full Cold Moon”, “Long Night Moon” or the “Moon Before Yule.”  The second Full Moon occurs on December 31st and is known as the “Full Wolf Moon”, “Old Moon” or “Moon After Yule.”

Because the December 31st Full Moon is the second Full Moon in the calendar month it is also known as a “Blue Moon” by the “Sky and Telescope Rule”.  Also the December 31st Full Moon brings an Umbral Lunar Eclipse visible from Australia, Asia Europe and Africa.





The above movie shows the Umbral Eclipse on December 31st as view from India. Each frame is one minute.





The above movie shows the Umbral Eclipse on December 31st as view from the Moon. Each frame is one minute.

Mercury

Mercury is found in the evening in December.  Mercury begins the month in the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer), and on December 3rd, moves into the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer).

Mercury GWE
Mercury reaches its Greatest Western Elongation on December 18th.
This date provides the Best Evening Views of Mercury as it will be
20°17’47” from the Sun, setting about one hour, 20 minutes after Sunset.

Mercury disappears into the glare of the sunset by December 31st.

Venus

 

Venus is observable in the morning hours of December until December 18th when it disappears into the glare of Sunrise.  Venus

Venus begins the month in the constellation Libra (The Balance) until December 3rd when it moves into the constellation Scorpius (The Scorpion).  On December 7th, Venus moves into the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer) where it will remain until December 22 when it moves into the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer).

Mars

Mars can be observe from the late evening hours until morning all month in the constellation Leo (The Lion).  Mars rises around 10:40 pm (PST) at the beginning of December and by the end of the month Mars rises around 8:50 pm (PST).





On December 20th Mars starts retrograde motion. The above movie shows the path of Mars during the month of Decemeber. Each frame is one sideal day.

Jupiter

Located in the constellation Capricorn until January 2010, Jupiter is visible during the evening hours of December.  Jupiter sets around 11:00 pm (PST) at the start of December and by the end of the month Jupiter sets around 9:30 pm (PST).

Jupiter Neptune Moon On December 20th, Jupiter passes within 0°31’ from Neptune and sets less than 5°40’ from the Waxing, Crescent Moon.

Saturn

Saturn rises in the very early morning hours of December; rising around 2:25 am (PST) at the start of the month and by the end of the month rising around 12:35 am (PST).  Saturn is located in the constellation Virgo (The Maiden) until December 2012.

On December 10th the Waning, Crescent Moon sets less than 8° from Saturn. Saturn Moon

Uranus

Uranus is visible until the early morning hours of December.  It sets around 1:25 am (PST) at the beginning of December and at the end of December is sets around 11:35 pm (PST).  Uranus is located in the constellation Aquarius (The Water Bearer) until January 2010.

Uranus Moon The waxing, Crescent Moon passes with 5°15’ of Uranus on December 23rd.

Neptune

Neptune can be observe during the evening hours of December At the start of the month Neptune sets around 11:15 pm (PST) and by the end of the month Neptune sets around 9:20 pm (PST).  Neptune is found in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until the year 2010

On December 20th, Jupiter passes within 0°31’ from Neptune and sets less than 5°40’ from the Waxing, Crescent Moon. Jupiter Neptune Moon

Pluto

Pluto Pluto may be observed around the first week of December and around December 9th Pluto disappears into the glare of the Sunset.

Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer) until the year 2023.


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