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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Wed. Dec. 1 – It will take a low southwestern horizon to see them, but Jupiter, Saturn and Venus will be lined up for the next several weeks in the early evening hours just after sunset.

Sat. Dec. 4 - Tonight will offer an opportunity to catch ‘the Demon Star’ in one of its blinks. Algol in Perseus, climbing into the northeastern sky, will reach its minimum brightness in a two hour time period centered at 11.49pm this evening. Compare its brightness with neighbouring before 10pm and then check it out at its faintest after 11pm.

Sun. Dec. 5 - Winter seems to be a time when Luna and the planets like hitting the dance floor in a conga line. This will happen tonight when a thin crescent Moon will lead the way, descending into the southwest twilight ahead of an evenly spaced parade featuring Venus, Saturn and then Jupiter.

Tues. Dec. 7 – As darkness falls this evening, the thin crescent Moon will be placed to the left of brilliant Venus very low in the southwest sky with Saturn poised just above.

Wed. Dec. 8 – Luna, in waxing crescent mode, will pose with Jupiter and Saturn low in the southern sky this evening.

Fri. Dec. 10 - – To add to the building excitement of the festive season, tonight Algol, the ‘Demon Star’ will tip a wink to Christmas preparations. The eclipsing binary star will reach its minimum brightness in a two hour time period centered at 8.27pm this evening. A marked increase in its brightness will be noticed after 9.30pm.

Fri. Dec. 10 – This is First Quarter Moon night. The perfectly divided sphere will look down on Okanagan winter scenes from the faint stars of the water constellations.

Mon. Dec. 13 - Considered by many to be the year’s best meteor shower, the Geminids will streak the sky tonight, however this year a waxing gibbous Moon will interfere up until around 3am when it sets. After that… look out! The 'shooting stars' will emanate from the constellation Gemini, high in the eastern sky. Don’t limit yourself to just this one night… the shower will perform both before and after the peak night.

Thurs. Dec. 16 – Approaching full moon phase, tonight Luna will help decorate the coming festive season by posing between the Pleiades and Hyades open star clusters.

Sat. Dec. 18 – This is Full Moon night with Luna in her full glory looking down from Gemini with the wonderful stars of Orion arrayed to her lower right.

Tues. Dec. 21 - How quickly time passes! The winter solstice will take place this morning at 7.59am on this shortest day (and longest night) of the year. It will be marked by a just past full Moon riding high among the stars of Gemini.

Wed. Dec. 22 – Tonight the ebbing gibbous Moon will be situated in Cancer with the faint but busy Beehive Cluster only about the width of two fingers to her lower left. Binoculars will provide a great view of the grouping.

Sun. Dec. 26 – This is Last Quarter Moon night. The reverse lit Luna will rise in the wee hours amongst the stars of Virgo, low in the eastern sky.

Mon. Dec. 27 - There will be another minimum of Algol tonight, with the two hour fainter period centred at 10.22pm. A look at the eclipsing binary’s brightness compared with neighbouring stars before 9.15pm will make its dimmer brightness evident around 10pm.

Tues. Dec. 28 – The waning crescent Moon will rise in the pre-dawn sky in the company of bright Spica in the constellation Virgo. For those who like to look ahead, this part of the sky will rule the night sky in the coming spring months.

Thurs. Dec. 30 - Algol, the eclipsing star, will celebrate New Years a day early tonight when it will dip in brightness during a two hour period centred at 10.11pm. Your first view could be before 9pm to see it in its full illumination before its slow wink.

Fri. Dec. 31 – For an early New Year experience, just before dawn this morning the thin waning crescent Moon will rise low in the southeast sky in the company of Mars which is beginning its next journey across the night sky. A low southwest horizon will be needed to spy the pair together with the star Antares.