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Have Some Nighttime Fun OUTSIDE!

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Sighfienerd


Location: Maryland






Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     Have Some Nighttime Fun OUTSIDE!

I was, of COURSE, speaking of doing a little stargazing!!

What? What's that you say? That's not what you thought this thread was about? What is WITH you people???? Oer, you have some dhurty minds. Laughing

Anyhow, you should try to get out and do a little stargazing if you can - the winter sky if filled with interesting things to watch.



Some daily events in the changing sky for this week.

Comet Holmes remains high in Perseus, dim but big. Look for it southwest of Alpha Persei. You may need binoculars now that moonlight is returning to the evening sky or go out and look after the Moon sets.

Give your eyes plenty of time to dark-adapt. Although the comet's total brightness has remained remarkably constant for weeks (light curve; scroll down), its widening size means that its surface brightness is decreasing. And this makes it tougher to see through any moonlight or light pollution. See our ongoing article.

Also, another comet is on the way in! Comet 8P/Tuttle is magnitude 8 and brightening more or less on schedule. It should reach 6th magnitude from late December through mid-January. And while Comet Holmes stays stuck in Perseus for months, Comet Tuttle (being much nearer) will move far southward across the evening sky during the same time. See the article and charts in the January Sky & Telescope, page 73, and the brief version online.

Friday, December 14

The Geminid meteor shower should still be active tonight. From late evening until dawn, you might see a meteor every minute or two on average if you have excellent sky conditions.

Saturday, December 15

It's not even winter yet, but already the Big Dipper is beginning its long annual rise in the evening sky, coming up bowl-first. By 9 p.m., look for it creeping up through the bare tree branches in the north-northeast. The Dipper will float highest overhead on the warm evenings of May and June.

Sunday, December 16

Whenever the Big Dipper is starting its rise, the Little Dipper hangs straight down from Polaris as if from a nail on the north wall of the icy winter sky. This week the Little Dipper assumes that position around 9 p.m., depending on where you live in your time zone. By mid-January, the very coldest time of year, it's there at 7 p.m., right after dinnertime.

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