Southern Colorado Skies / December 2-8, 2018

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available; an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.

THIS WEEK

Later this week the Moon glides past Saturn just after sunset.

Monday (12/3)

About 90 minutes before sunrise in the southeast look for Venus just below the waning crescent Moon. That star to Venus’ upper right (west) is Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo.

Tuesday (12/4)

Look to the east this morning before dawn to see the crescent Moon, Venus, and Spica forming an arc. Higher up to the left (east) is Arcturus, the brightest star in the constellation Bootes.

Thursday (12/6)

This evening Neptune appears only 1/3 of a degree from Mars!

Friday (12/7)

New Moon at 12:20 a.m. MST.

Saturday (12/8)

The waxing crescent Moon appears to the lower right (west) of Saturn in the southwest (see above graphic).

DAYLIGHT

PLANETS

Mercury (in Libra)

Shy Mercury will present itself in the dawn sky late in the week. Look well to the lower left (east) of Venus and use binoculars if you have a pair (beware the Sun!).

Venus (in Virgo)

Venus is very bright (magnitude -4.8), rising a couple of hours before sunrise in the east-southeast. Spica (in Virgo) is the much dimmer star to its upper right (west). (Telescope tip: To view the crescent Venus without the glare, wait until the planet is high in the blue sky. Watch out for the Sun!)

Mars (in Aquarius)

Mars is in its best viewing position in the south about just after dark – it sets around midnight. Neptune and Mars are very close this week (see above text).

Jupiter (in Scorpius)

Jupiter is hidden in the glare of the Sun.

Saturn (in Sagittarius)

The ringed planet is that yellowish “star” low in the southwest during twilight. It sets before dark.

Uranus (in Aries/Pisces)

Look in the southeast during mid-evening. Check out the Sky & Telescope finder chart noted below. (Uranus is easily visible with quality binoculars.)

Neptune (in Aquarius)

Look in the south during mid-evening. Neptune and Mars are very close this week (see above text). Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune may be found at http://wwwcdn.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/WEB_UrNep18.pdf.

SCAS UPCOMING EVENTS

Astrophotography SIG (Special Interest Group). Date, time and location will be emailed to members.

Thursday, December 6th – Board Meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the north-side Village Inn.

No general membership meeting in December.

FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION REGARDING SCAS ACTIVITIES, REFER TO THE SCAS WEBSITE AT http://www.scaspueblo.com/CalendarMain.html.

Carpe noctem

Dave Furry
Pueblo West, Colorado

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