Heads UP! for December’s Skies

Monday, December 5 is the day for the sunrise to shine its light directly down the cross streets of Manhattan.

Jupiter is the bright object high in the sky this month. Use any optical aid, held against a something sturdy will show up to four tiny moons. A telescope will show cloud bands, and sometimes, a dark dot of a shadow of a moon on the cloud tops of Jupiter.

Venus is the bright object low in the southwestern sky. Even brighter than Jupiter, Venus will get higher in the sky each week and easier to find.

Early risers and morning commuters should look up for a pale pink dot near a light blue star. The dot is the planet Mars and the star is Regulus, one of the paws of Leo the lion. There’s another pair of dots lower in the east. One is Saturn and the other is Spica in Virgo. Get a small telescope to see the tiny ring around Saturn. Maybe you’ll be able to see that one end of Mars is white – that’s the north polar ice cap and clouds.

Early in the evening, look for Orion as he rises sideways into the winter sky. He looks like he’s slumbering. Use binoculars to see the fuzzy spot in the sword (a line of stars down from the belt of three bright stars) – it’s the Orion Nebula, a star-making factory.

Learn more about this month’s sky and what our Westchester observers have been doing by checking out our newsletter at
http://www.westchesterastronomers.org/

all the best for a great holiday season!

bob
bkellysky.wordpress.com

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