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Post Info TOPIC: December 2011


L

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December 2011
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Mercury rise in the constellation Ophiuchus at 6:40.2 UT, 21st December, 2011. (for Scotland)



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L

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Eyes on the Sky: Dec 19 thru Dec 25



See what's up in tonight's sky for the week of Dec. 19 - Dec. 25. Spot Mercury as the planet reaches greatest elongation for the last time this year; Venus is right near two double stars that can be seen with binoculars. Jupiter remains close to M74, Saturn gets a visit from the Moon and Mars is still moving through Leo. New Moon is this week.



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L

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Earliest Sunset of the Year at 15:25.1 UT, 15th December, 2011.



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Mercury is just beginning a favourable spell of visibility low down in the SE in our morning twilight. A seen from Britain from the 13th to the 29th, it rises more than 100 minutes before the Sun and climbs to stand between 8 and 10 high thirty minutes before sunrise. Brightening from mag 0.5 to -0.4, it should become a naked-eye object and an easy binocular one if our horizon is clear. Through a telescope, its phase changes between 28% and 76% sunlit as its diameter shrinks from 8.5 to 5.9 arcsec.
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Eyes on the Sky: Dec 12 thru Dec 19

See what's up in tonight's sky for the week of Dec. 12 - Dec. 19. Venus is near M75 in the SW sky, Jupiter is close to M74, the Geminid meteor shower peaks mid-week and learn how you can find areas of the sky where exoplanets exist, including the section that the Kepler mission follows. Also, find out where you can find Mercury, Mars and Saturn tonight too.



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Uranus is Stationary, on the 10th December, 2011



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Full Moon, at 14:36.4 UT, 10th December, 2011



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This weekend, not only will there will be a Total Lunar Eclipse, but a magnificent meteor shower.
Better yet, Gladstone is a great place to see them both.
Dave Reneke, writer for the Australasian Science Magazine, said it's a night worth waiting up for.

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The almost full moon is only 3 degrees from the Pleiades on the 8th December, 2011.



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Tonight's Sky December 2011

Two prominent constellations in the December night sky represent notable individuals of ancient Greek mythology.
The great hero Perseus holds the head of Medusa the Gorgon.
Queen Cassiopeia was punished for her conceit and vanity by being tied to her throne.
Cassiopeia's "W" shape makes this constellation easy to identify.
Eta Cassiopeiae is a wonderful and colourful double star. Use binoculars or a small telescope to discern its gold and purple hues.
Lying between Cassiopeia and Perseus is the lovely Double Cluster. This pair of open star clusters is easy to see with binoculars.
Open star clusters are groups of young stars that all formed at the same time within a large cloud of dust and gas.
The Double Cluster resembles a handful of diamonds scattered on black velvet, with a ruby in between.
M103 in Perseus is another fine open star cluster with a prominent red star near the center. Its fan shape is evident in binoculars.
Yet another open star cluster in Perseus is M34, about 1,400 light-years away from us. Look for it with the naked eye or with binoculars in a dark sky.



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