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Post Info TOPIC: December 2011


L

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RE: December 2011
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Spot five planets without a telescope
 
A great way to prepare for 2012 is to try to see all five naked-eye planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Start off tonight by looking west after sunset at 5:27 to see ever-brilliant Venus in the darkening twilight.
By 6, very bright Jupiter will be high in the east about 60 degrees above the horizon.

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L

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Eyes on the Sky: Dec 26 thru Jan 1



See what's up in tonight's sky for the week of Dec. 26 through Jan 1. All eight planets are visible in the sky - the Moon serves as a guide to find Uranus and Neptune with binoculars or a small telescope, Venus is in the western evening sky, Jupiter is in the southern evening sky, and Mercury, Saturn and Mars are all visible before sunrise.



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L

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The Moon is close to Venus at 16.20 UT, 27th December.



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New Moon (diameter: 32.349', declination: -21.76°) at 18:06.4 UT, 24th December



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Cold weather provides prime backdrop for stargazers

If you can stand the cold, the winter skies provide some of the most brilliant landscapes to watch celestial objects dance overhead.
There is no shortage of objects to see in the sky on frosty winter nights - from luminous nebulae contrasted against a dark backdrop, to dazzling planets, bright stars and brilliant galaxies.

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L

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Mercury is at its Greatest Elongation (21.8° West: -0.3 mag) at 3.05 UT, 23rd December



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The December solstice is also called the winter solstice  north of the Tropic of Cancer, occurs because this is the day the sun reaches its most southerly declination (-23.5 degrees).  Today the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn so the days are nice and long where it could be called the summer solstice, so we should stick to calling it the December solstice to avoid confusion.
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Lunar perigee (apparent diameter: 33'20.6") at 2:50.7 UT, 22nd December.



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The waning crescent moon is close to Mercury on the 22nd December, 2011.



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See All 7 Planets in the Night Sky This Week

This week presents a rare opportunity to see all the major planets of the solar system in a single night.
Just after sunset tonight (Dec. 21) the two brightest planets will be shining, weather permitting. Venus, the brightest, rides low in the southwest just above the setting sun. Jupiter, the second brightest planet, is high in the south.

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