Celebrate New Year with the Moon and Planets in the Southwest Sky

With a forecast of clearer skies* for the evening of Sunday, January 1st, 2017 (Happy New Year!), there is still time to see Neptune still near Mars – 1 degree (two crescent-moon-lenghts apart) to the lower right of Mars. You’ll need strong binoculars or a telescope to see much fainter Neptune.
Look early (6 to 6:30pmEST) and see Mars plus Venus and a very thin Moon further down to Mars’ right. (No optical aid needed, although the Moon will look nicer with some magnification.)
There is even a comet glowing faintly at magnitude plus 7.2 even lower down (use binoculars or a telescope- fuzzy objects are even fainter than advertised near the horizon)!
See attached charts from Mobile Observatory zoomed in on Neptune and Mars and showing the wider scene.

[*Forecasts from http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/DrprPrkNYkey.html?1 and National Weather Service http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php… – check for updates after noontime.]


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