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TOPIC: December 2008


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RE: December 2008
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Starting Monday night (December 29, 2008) and ending with a really big show on New Years Eve, the new crescent Moon and the planets of Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter will help us to ring in the new year of 2009.

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The Moon will be close to the planets Jupiter and Mercury low in the South-West sky, on the evening of the 29th, December, just after sunset. 

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Venus will be in conjunction with a crescent Moon in the constellation Aquarius on Wednesday, 31st, December, 2008.
Look towards the south-western sky just after sunset.

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Near Earth Objects

Date : Miss Distance : Relative Velocity:  Diameter : Object Name
2008-Dec-20 : 23.8 LD : 21.2 km/s : 150 m - 340 m : (2004 XL14)
2008-Dec-22 : 72.1 LD : 20.4 km/s : 220 m - 500 m : (2007 LL)
2008-Dec-23 : 28.0 LD : 21.1 km/s : 160 m - 350 m : (2008 SH82)
2008-Dec-23 : 08.4 LD : 20.0 km/s : 270 m - 600 m : (2008 EV5)
2008-Dec-27 : 27.0 LD : 18.6 km/s : 500 m - 1.1 km : (2004 LV3)
2008-Dec-27 : 65.6 LD : 20.1 km/s : 250 m - 560 m : (2003 UX34)
2008-Dec-28 : 37.5 LD : 28.3 km/s : 006 m - 013 m : (2006 JY26)
2008-Dec-28 : 67.1 LD : 24.6 km/s : 032 m - 072 m : (2008 ON10)
2008-Dec-29 : 41.3 LD : 19.7 km/s : 310 m - 690 m : (2002 AC5)


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Tonight, the Moon will pass a few degrees from the star  Regulus, in the constellation Leo, the lion.

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Stargazers willing to brave the cold early hours Sunday might get a peek at the Geminids meteor shower, an annual show put on by tiny rocks burning up as they slam into Earth's atmosphere at 78,000 mph.
Much of this year's show likely will be hidden behind the brightness from a full moon, but those patient enough might still see some good ones streak across the sky, said Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Without the moon, about 120 per hour could be seen


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On this day, in 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand.

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The Sun set at 15:50 GMT on the 12th December, 2008; this is the earliest sunset of the year for the Northern hemisphere.

The equation of time is the difference over the course of a year between time as read from a sundial and time as read from a clock, measured in an ideal situation (ie. in a location at the centre of a time zone, and which does not use daylight saving time). The sundial can be ahead (fast) by as much as 16 min 33 s (around November 3) or fall behind by as much as 14 min 6 s (around February 12). It is caused by irregularity in the path of the Sun across the sky, due to a combination of the obliquity of the Earth's rotation axis and the eccentricity of its orbit. The equation of time is the east or west component of the analemma, a curve representing the angular offset of the Sun from its mean position on the celestial sphere as viewed from Earth.
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