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David Mayeux
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Current Astronomy "Headlines"

Full Moon
December 6

Last Quarter December 14

New Moon December 21

First Quarter
December 28

Listed below are notable astronomical events coming up for the month of
December 2014:

Naked-Eye Planets

In December, Mercury is lost in the glare of the Sun all month long, coming to superior conjunction on the 8th. By the end of the month, however, Mercury is starting to approach Venus low in the west after sunset. January will be better for viewing Mercury!

Like Mercury, Venus begins December deep in the Sun’s glare, but already in the evening sky. Unfortunately, Venus stays pretty squarely deep in the Sun’s glare all month long until the very end of the month. Also as with Mercury, Venus will be far more viewable in January!

In December, Mars is in extreme eastern Sagittarius, crossing over into Capricornus early in the month. The waxing crescent Moon bypasses on Christmas Eve night, and Mars finishes the month about 2-3 degrees west of the bright star Deneb Algedi.

Jupiter starts December rising just before 10:30 p.m. in Leo, about 8-9 degrees NW of Regulus. Jupiter is in retrograde motion this month, and finishes the month actually a little closer to the border of Leo / Cancer than it was at the beginning! Early next month, Jupiter comes to opposition.

In December, Saturn begins the month very deep in the Sun’s glare in the morning sky, but pulls away gradually all month long, rising ever earlier in the morning sky. The waning crescent Moon bypasses on the 19th, and Saturn rises at about 4:30 a.m. by month’s end.

Telescopic Planets

In early December, Uranus begins the month in conjunction with the Moon in Pisces. The First Quarter Moon bypasses again on the 28th. Uranus finishes the month setting at about 12:30 a.m.

Neptune is in the constellation Aquarius in the month of December, setting in the evening slightly before 11:30 p.m. The waxing crescent Moon comes closest on Christmas night, and Neptune sets at about 9:30 p.m. at month’s end.

Dwarf Planets

Ceres is in the glare of the Sun all month long in December, coming to solar conjunction on the 10th. In order to spot Ceres in the evening sky, one will have to wait until January.

In December, Pluto is in the constellation Sagittarius, very low over the western horizon after sunset. From there, Pluto continues its decline into the solar glare and is not really feasibly visible all month long. Pluto finishes December just days from solar conjunction.






Meteor Showers - http://amsmeteors.org/showers.html

Viewable Comets - http://cometography.com/current_comets.html

Special events - http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights



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