Monday, December 12, 2022
Southern Skywatch December 2022 edition is now out!
Evening sky on Thursday December 8 as seen from Adelaide at 22:06 ACDST pm ACDST(90 minutes after sunset). Mars is at opposition, when is at its biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. The Full Moon is just below. The inset is the telescopic view at this time. Mars is below the bright red star Aldebaran and the distinctive "V" shape of the Hyades cluster. It is also close to the iconic constellation of Orion with it's distinctive belt and Mars, Aldebaran and the red star Betelgeuse form a triangle.
Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset).
The December edition of Southern Skywatch is now up.
This month the planetary action remains mostly in the evening skies, with 3 bright planets visible in the evening. Venus and Mercury climb higher in the evening skies but remain in the twilight. Opposition of Mars. The Geminid meteor Shower is impacted by the waning Moon.
December 1; First Quarter Moon. December 2; the Moon is close to Jupiter. December 8; the Full Moon close to Mars. December 8; Mars at opposition. December 12; apogee Moon. Morning December 15; Geminid meteor shower peaks. December 16; Last Quarter Moon. December 22; Earth at Solstice. December 23; New Moon. December 24; Moon at perigee. December 24; the thin crescent moon forms a triangle with the Mercury and Venus. December 26; the crescent Moon is close to Saturn.December 28th-30; Mercury and Venus are less than 2° apart. December 29; the crescent Moon is close to Jupiter again. December 30; "Blue" First Quarter Moon.
Mercury climbs higher in the evening sky this month, the low angle of the ecliptic means it never gets really although it gets out of the worst of the twilight glow into nautical twilight. In the first week of the moth you will need a clear, level horizon like the ocean and binoculars to see it there after it is easier. Mercury is at its highest on the 22nd. Venus is below Mercury for most of the Month. On the 24th the thin crescent moon form a triangle with the pair (look around 45 minutes after sunset) and on the 28th to 30th Mercury and Venus are less than 2° apart.
Venus climbs higher in the evening sky this month, as with Mercury, the low angle of the ecliptic means it never gets really high although it gets out of the worst of the twilight glow. Venus is below Mercury for most of the Month, and shares its encounter with the Moon. On the 28th to 30th Mercury and Venus are less than 2° apart.Earth is at solstice on Thursday the 22nd, when the day is longest.
Mars is at opposition this Month when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. Mars is in the readily unrecognizable constellation of Taurus the Bull. At opposition Mars is below the bright red star Aldebaran and the distinctive "V" shape of the Hyades cluster. It is also close to the iconic constellation of Orion with it's distinctive belt and Mars, Aldebaran and the red star Betelgeuse form a triangle. Mars will head towards the beautiful cluster the Pleiades during December ad the first half of January, then moves aback down the Horns of the Bull. Mars is now visible all night.
On the 8th Mars is at opposition around 4° from the full moon (very obvious as the brightest object near the moon), mid power binocular fields will just fit the pair in. Unlike Jupiter and Saturn, Mars's increases and decreases in size substantially over the weeks, at opposition it is 17.06 arc seconds in diameter, even modest amateur telescopes should see surface makings (not in great detail though). By the end of the month mars has shrunk to 15 arc seconds, much harder to resolve in modest instruments. This is the best opposition until 2033.
Jupiter rises before the sky is fully dark and is lowering in the north-western evening sky. It is an excellent telescopic object in the early to late evening. Jupiter was at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth on September the 27th. Jupiter is visible the whole evening setting after midnight.On the 2nd Jupiter below the waxing Moon, and then again on the 29th Jupiter is 1° from the crescent moon, fitting into the field of view of mid-range binoculars and wide field telescope eye pieces.
Saturn is visible in the early evening sky setting just around 11 pm in the early part of the month and around 9 pm by the end of the month. Saturn was at opposition on the 15th of August and is visible above the western sky when the sky is fully dark. Saturn will be high enough for good telescopic observation in the early evening when the sky is full dark. Saturn forms a line with delta and gamma Capricorn. On December 26; the crescent Moon is close to Saturn.
Labels: southern skywatch