Southern Colorado Skies / December 16-22, 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

Look for Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury together in the morning sky.


Saturday (12/22)

Full Moon at 10:49 p.m. MST.

DAYLIGHT


PLANETS

Mercury (in Scorpius/Ophiuchus)

Mercury will present itself in the southeast dawn sky this week. Look well to the lower left (east) of Venus about an hour before sunrise. (And Jupiter is below Mercury – see above graphic.)

Venus (in Libra)

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!) See above graphic.

Mars (in Aquarius/Pisces)

Mars is in its best viewing position in the south about just after dark (under the Great Square of Pegasus) – it sets around midnight.

Jupiter (in Ophiuchus)

Look for Jupiter a few degrees below Mercury in the pre-dawn sky (see above graphic). Binoculars may be required – watch out for the Sun!

Saturn (in Sagittarius)

The ringed planet is now lost in the glare of the sunset.

Uranus (in Aries/Pisces)

Look in the south 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. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune may be found at http://wwwcdn.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/WEB_UrNep18.pdf.

SCAS UPCOMING EVENTS

No general membership meeting in December. The next meeting will be on Thursday, January 17th, at 6:30 p.m. in the Bret Kelly B conference room at the Rawlings Public Library; there will be a presentation on lunar eclipses (getting ready for the total lunar eclipse on January 20th), followed by a discussion regarding free self-learning programs offered by the Astronomical League.

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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