| Observatory |
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.
The pictures are from Jim Failes' photo collection. Hope you enjoy them!
Sun. Dec. 1 - As the remnant of Comet ISON distances itself after its hairpin turn around the Sun on the 28th, it will now start to move higher into the pre-dawn morning sky. Not having the Moon around will be an advantage, but indications are the cooked ISON may be difficult to find. Look for an illustration from Sky News magazine in our ISON Zenfolio gallery here: http://rascoc.zenfolio.com/p885787201/h1c088cba#h1c088cba
Mon. Dec. 2 - This is New Moon time. Not only is our pesky companion out of the way so we can check up on Comet ISON, but it is out of the way altogether to allow dark skies for deep sky imaging and sketching. Hopefully there will be some clear skies in the relatively few days this lasts.
Thurs. Dec. 5 - The waxing crescent Moon appears the width of your three middle fingers above brilliant Venus above the southwest horizon.
Fri. Dec. 6 - If you see Venus blazing unusually bright low in the southwest sky tonight, a contributing factor is that it is at maximum brightness, shining at a whopping -4.9 magnitude!
Mon. Dec. 9 - This is First Quarter Moon night when the half slice of orange rises in the east after nightfall to appear as a Christmas bauble hung in the sky.
Fri. Dec. 13 - One of the most exciting annual meteor showers, the Geminids, will reach their peak tonight and into the early morning hours, however the almost full Moon will blunt all but the brightest members since it is sitting not far from the radiant point of the shower.
Sat. Dec. 14 - For those who might be interested in trying to see 'the Dragon's Mouth' effect in the lower part of the Moon's day/night terminator, there will be an opportunity this evening between 9 and midnight which lunar expert Alister Ling has calculated shares the colongitude timing with the original observation by Dave Gamble in April. The apparently rare side-lit phenomenon may be elusive due to other parameters such as the latitude of the Sun's rising point, but there is a chance the fangs will be bared tonight. More information, cologitude charts and photographs of the area can be found at http://rascoc.zenfolio.com/p386519967
Mon. Dec. 16 - Whatever is left of Comet ISON is climbing higher into the pre-dawn sky. Follow the progress of its position with an illustration from the November/December issue of Sky News magazine which can be seen here: http://rascoc.zenfolio.com/p885787201/h1c088cba#h9d4500a
Tues. Dec. 17 - This is Full Moon night when the full glory of our neighbour will cast "the luster of midday on objects below". Shouldn't make any difference that it is near aphelion and farthest from the Earth, since it will only appear slightly smaller than usual.
Thurs. Dec. 19 - Tonight the waning Moon will pass about the width of your three middle fingers below bright Jupiter.
Thurs. Dec. 19 - It is about now that Comet ISON, if it is still a viable object, should begin to be visible in the evening sky as well as in the early morning. Sky News magazine's excellent coverage of ISON's visit in its November/December issue includes an illustration of where to find it in the evening sky, which can be seen here: http://rascoc.zenfolio.com/p885787201/h1c088cba#h1e05fd12
Sat. Dec. 21 - The positive side of reaching the Winter Solstice is that days will soon be lengthening as the Sun starts to climb higher in the sky. Winter Solstice will arrive at 3:11am. Watch for news of a Solstice observance at the Pen Henge Standing Stone Array in Penticton.
Wed. Dec. 25 - A celestial Christmas gift will be the Last Quarter Moon which will rise around midnight. It will rise a bit earlier on Christmas Eve to help light Santa on his rounds.
Thurs. Dec. 26 - While diminished Comet ISON is fading in brightness, it actually will make its closest approach to the Earth today. What is left of the dusty snowball will be 64.2 million kilometers away from us.
Sat. Dec. 28 - The waning Moon will pass only the width of your little finger held at arm's length below ringed Saturn this evening.