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Post Info TOPIC: December 2011


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The Moon is close to Jupiter (4.41) at 16:10 UT, 6th December



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Eyes on the Sky: Dec 5 thru Dec 11


See what's up in tonight's sky for the week of Dec. 5 - Dec. 11. The Moon stops by Jupiter early in the week, Mars visits some Messier galaxies late in the week, and some denizens of the Earth will witness a lunar eclipse.



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Mercury is at Perihelion at 6:05 UT, 5th December.



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On the night of December 13 and 14 the Geminids meteor shower will peak. The Geminids produce on average up to 60 meteors per hour at their peak, which is why they are considered by many to be the best of all meteor showers.
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Mercury makes its closest approach to the Earth (0.678 AU) at 3:40 UT, 4th Devember, 2011.

The planet is at inferior conjunction, 1.3 separated from center of Sun, at 8:50 UT.



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The later you stay up in the evening, the more you'll see of the best part of December skies rising in the east. By 8 to 9 p.m. you'll easily see Orion the Hunter, that wonderful winter constellation, rising in the east. Its calling card is the three bright stars in a row that make up Orion's belt. Preceding Orion are the bright autumn constellations Taurus the Bull, with the wonderful Pleiades Star Cluster and Auriga, the constellation that looks like a lopsided pentagon with the bright star Capella. Auriga's supposed to be a retired chariot driver turned goat farmer. Just to the north of Orion is the constellation Gemini the Twins with the bright stars Castor and Pollux in position on the forehead of the Twins.
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First Quarter Moon (declination: -2.98) at 9:52.2 UT, 2nd December, 2011.



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SKYVIEW DECEMBER 1, 2011 OUR SOLAR SYSTEM



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Venus is 526' south of Pluto at 08:52 UT, 1st December, 2011.



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Next month offers at least two opportunities for observations that are worth the effort. The first occurs on the morning of Dec. 22. Go somewhere that has a clear view of the southeastern horizon at 7:30 a.m. and find the thin crescent moon. Look just to the moon's left for the planet Mercury. Binoculars will be helpful.
The second opportunity occurs after sunset four days later, on the 26th, when the young crescent moon is visible next to brilliant Venus.

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