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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and a Merry Christmas

Christmas is coming! As well as the traditional roast animals, plum pudding and hot cocoa (which in Australia is a bit weird, as it's hot and sunny here), you will get to see a nice line-up of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury.

The image to the left is the evening sky around 9:00 am local time in Australia on December 25. Jupiter and Mercury are close in the twilight, and Venus glows above. This will be a fine accompaniment to pre-dinner drinks or cracker pulling on Christmas evening.

As the days roll on, it gets better. Mercury and Jupiter come closer together, cumulating on the 29th with the occulatation of Jupiter, where the Moon passes in front of Jupiter, with Mercury nearby. This is Australia specific, New Zealand and most of South Asia will see Mercury, the Moon and Jupiter very close together, and South Africa will see them strung out in a line. Still very beautiful, and well worth watching though.

On the 31st the crescent Moon is very close to Venus, and Jupiter and Mercury are at their closest, a fine evening sight to herald in the New Year, and the International Year of Astronomy.

My posts will be a bit spotty now, with lots of relatives visiting, and food to cook and eat. So have a Merry and safe holdiay season, watch out for loonies on the road, and clear skies!

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Hi Ian,

Merry Christmas. We've really enjoyed your blog. Now my kids want a telescope! I'll work on that for next christmas.

All the best and yes I know what you mean by hot Christmas dinners when we're in our summers in Australia and here in NZ.

Merry Christmas
Liz NZ
The image is very nice.
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