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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday December 3 to Thursday December 10

The Last Quarter Moon is Wednesday December 9. Jupiter is is easily seen as the brightest object in the evening sky. Mercury is low in the twilight evening sky. In the morning, Mars is easily seen above the north-eastern horizon. Saturn is close to the dawn horizon. Mars and Saturn are visited by the waning Moon.

Morning sky looking north-east showing Mars and Saturn at 4:00 am local daylight saving time (3:00 am non-daylight saving) on Thursday December 10. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Wednesday December 9.

In the morning, Mars is readily visible in the eastern sky. Red Mars is now the constellation of Leo. Mars is a distinct gibbous disk in a small telescope, and becomes bigger and brighter during the week in the lead up to opposition in January. On Monday December 7 the Moon is close to Mars, then on Tuesday December 8 the Moon is close to the bright star Regulus.

Saturn is visible low in the morning sky between the bright stars Regulus and Spica. On Thursday December 10 the crescent Moon is close to Saturn.

Bright white Venus is invisible the twilight glow and will not reappear until February.

South-Western horizon showing Mercury at 21:00 pm local daylight saving time (19:40 pm non-daylight saving) on Thursday December 10, click to embiggen.

Mercury can be seen above the south-western horizon between half an hour to an hour after sunset. This week it moves in to the "Teapot" of Sagittarius, on on Thursday December 10 it is very close to the star Lambda Sagittarii, the "lid" of the teapot.

Jupiter is easily seen as the brightest object in the western evening sky. Jupiter is big enough to be appreciated in even the smallest telescope. If you don't have a telescope to view Jupiter, why not go to one of your local Astronomical Societies or Planetariums open nights? Jupiter's Moons are readily visible in binoculars or a small telescope.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm ADST, Western sky at 10 pm ADST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch. Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

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On Thursday December 10, 2009 at 1:30am - approx 2:00am I saw a red crescent moon. I thought I must have been seeing things when there was nothing in the News about it.
 
I saw it from the suburb of Crestmead which is in Brisbane, Australia. The Crescent was quite thin and small at first and the red was quite deep. Then the red slowly began to pale as the Earth moved, until the moon seemed to shine bright white. I tried to film the event on my mobile. But my battery went flat.
 
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