Sky Notes and next Observing Evening

Sunday 9th December 4pm update:

This is as good an opportunity as we’re going to get.  A few small clouds scudding across from time to time, but broadly speaking a clear sky!

I look forward to seeing you later at Boundary Bank, see map and details at the foot of this page.


December’s night sky…

Planets

Neptune and Mars pass one another in the early evening, closest together on Friday 9th and then separating slowly over the next few nights.  Mars is an easy catch at Magnitude 0.1, Neptune will need binoculars or a small telescope, being Magnitude 7.9.

Mars is about 30° above the southern horizon in the evening, so a good target for observing.

Uranus (Magnitude 5.7) is still in Pisces, and transits at about 9pm with a very helpful elevation of about 45°.

Saturn is playing “catch me if you can” as it briefly appears a few degrees above the south-western horizon after sunset.

Venus is a gem in the morning sky for all you early risers!  On 21st and 22nd it is joined by a pretty conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter above the south-eastern horizon before dawn.

Comets

Periodic comet 46P/Wirtanen is now showing very well as it speeds through the Hyades and past the Pleiades in the first half of the month.  Closest approach to Earth is on the 15th December.

Meteors

The Geminids meteor shower makes its appearance this month, peaking on the night of Thursday 13th.  The Moon sets at about 10pm on the 13th, so take a sun lounger to your favourite dark sky spot and don’t forget your thermals!

Don’t forget to look at Ian Morison’s Sky Notes on the Jodrell Bank website.


 

click map for details

  • Date: Sunday 9th December
  • Time:  7pm (I’ll be there from about 6pm)
  • Place: Boundary Bank Lane car park… click map for more information

I think you all know the system by now: check here every day or so to see whether the weather forecast is offering us a clear evening.  As the prospective date approaches, I will keep a close eye on the forecast and update the page more frequently.

When the observing evening is confirmed as definitely going ahead, the text here will change from red to blue.  DO NOT TURN OUT IF THE TEXT IS STILL RED, as there won’t be anyone there!