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Thursday 18 December 2014  •   26 Birch Moon 2014


Viewing the night sky in Birch Moon 2014/15

23 November - 21 December 2014

Map of night sky at full moon: 6 December, 12:27 UT
Northern hemisphere perspective, aligned on the ecliptic. Morning sky to the left, evening to the right.

night sky map for Birch Moon 2014/15

Mars is in the south-western sky, low down as seen from the north. On the evening of 25 November, the new crescent moon is to its north. The red planet moves on into Capricornus on 4 December.

On the night of 5/6 December, the moon passes through the Hyades.

Jupiter rises brightly in the late evening in the constellation Leo. On the night of 11/12 December, the moon is nearby.

On the morning of 19 December, you may be able to see Saturn below the old moon in the pre-dawn sky. On 20 December, the moon is below Saturn.

At the end of the month, Venus emerges from behind the sun into the evening sky, more easily visible from the southern hemisphere.

On the night of 1/2 December, the moon passes very close to Uranus and occults it as seen from parts of Alaska, Western Canada and the High Arctic. For Juneau, the moon covers Uranus in daylight from 22:41 to 23:14 UT (13:41 to 14:14 AKST). For Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), the moon covers Uranus in darkness from 23:09 to 23:38 UT (16:09 to 16:38 MST). For Vancouver and Iqaluit, the moon passes just to the north of the blue ice giant.

Look out for the Geminid meteors around 13 or 14 December.



The month ahead: Rowan Moon 2015

22 December 2014 - 20 January 2015

Map of night sky at full moon: 5 January, 04:53 UT
Northern hemisphere perspective, aligned on the ecliptic. Morning sky to the left, evening to the right.

night sky map for Rowan Moon 2015

The moon is near the Hyades on the night of 1/2 January.

Jupiter rises soon after sunset and shines very brightly in Leo for the rest of the night. On the night of 7/8 January, the moon is near Jupiter.

Saturn rises a few hours before the sun. On the morning of 16 January, the moon is nearby. On 17 January, Saturn passes the boundary between Libra and Scorpius, brighter than Antares, the bright star of Scorpius.

Venus and Mercury both come round the back of the sun into the evening sky, and Mercury reaches 18.9°E of the sun on 14 January. The angle of the ecliptic to the horizon makes for reasonable viewing from most parts of Earth. This is a really great opportunity to see Mercury, if you’ve never done before, as the brighter Venus is just a degree or so away. For northern hemisphere sky watchers, Venus is to the left of Mercury, about the same height above the horizon. From the south, Venus is more-or-less above Mercury. As the sky darkens, Mars becomes visible further out from the sunset than Venus and Mercury.

Earlier in the month, on the evening of 23 December, the new crescent moon is near Venus and Mercury, but the planets are low down and very hard to see at this point from the northern hemisphere.

Mars is still in the western evening sky. On 24 December, the moon is nearby and, on the night of 19/20 January, Mars passes less than thirteen minutes of arc south of the faint ice giant Neptune.

On 11 January, Ceres passes between the Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae in Sagittarius in the dawn twilight. On the night of 28/29 December, the moon passes very close to Uranus, and occults it as seen from Alaska and nearby lands. For Anchorage, the moon covers Uranus from 04:34 to 05:28 UT, 29 Dec (19:34 to 20:28 AKST).

Look out for the Quarantid meteors around 3 or 4 January.



William Morris
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