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



The following tips on exciting 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.


Mon. Dec. 1 -  The expanding phase of the Moon complements the Ice Giant planet Uranus which can be seen about the width of your little finger to the west of our satellite.

Fri. Dec. 5 - Tonight the waxing Moon will move very close to the bright orange star Aldebran in Taurus. In arabic, Aldebran means 'the follower', referring to its celestial track behind the Pleiades across the fall sky.

Sat. Dec. 6 - This is Full Moon Night with our fully lit neighbour shining down on early winter Okanagan scenes.

Thurs. Dec. 11 - The Moon is on the wane and tonight bright Jupiter will be just above it watching it pass.

Sat. Dec. 13 - One of the main annual meteor showers, the Geminids, will peak in the early hours tomorrow morning. Look for 'shooting stars' to emanate from the constellation Gemini high in the eastern sky. The almost Last Quarter Moon should not cause too much interference in viewing this exciting shower which produces lots of bright meteors.

Sun. Dec. 14 - Tonight the Last Quarter Moon will rise around midnight and remain well placed to ornament the morning sky.

Mon. Dec. 15 - For those piqued by the blinking of Algol, 'The Demon Star', tonight its regular pulse will be at minimum from about 6.30 to 8.30pm. Check it out as early as possible before 6.30 to catch the 'before' brightness.

Fri. Dec. 19 - The now waning crescent Moon will pose in the eastern morning sky about the width of your middle finger from the ringed planet Saturn which has emerged from behind the Sun to begin a new seasonal appearance.

Sun. Dec. 21 - How quickly time passes! The winter solstice will take place at 3.03pm on this shortest day of the year. Why not plan to be at the Pen Henge standing stone array on Munson Mountain in Penticton where interested people will join members of the Okanagan Centre of RASC for a gathering around 3pm in anticipation of sunset at 3.27pm to watch the Sun's shadow extend from the winter solstice stone to the Heel Stone.

Sun. Dec. 21 - This is New Moon night when it will not shed 'the luster of midday on objects below' to ruin deep sky observing, sketching and imaging. Now all we need are clear skies to take advantage of it.

Mon. Dec. 22 - A very thin fingernail pairing Moon will enter the evening sky. To make it easier to find, the delicate crescent will appear about the width of your three middle fingers above brilliant Venus just over the horizon.

Mon. Dec. 22 - The good news is that there is another meteor shower peaking tonight and the Moon will not be around to be a problem. The bad news is that the Ursids are not the brightest shower going. Nevertheless, this shower derives its name from its radiant in Ursa Minor not far from Polaris. It yields an average of about 10 meteors per hour, but surprises are part of meteor shower viewing and you can never tell.

Tues. Dec. 23 - The crescent Moon is moving up in the evening sky. For those with a favourable western horizon, brilliant  Venus will be seen below it after sunset.

Wed. Dec. 24 - The widening crescent Moon has now moved to a similar distance from ruddy Mars low in the evening sky to help Santa navigate on his annual Christmas Eve journey.

Sun. Dec. 28 - This is First Quarter Moon night when the brilliant half slice of orange will ride high in the pre New Years sky to provide some early cheer to this festive time of year.