Sunday, December 30, 2012

January 2013 Celestial Highlights

January 2: Earth reaches perihelion, its annual closest distance to the sun: 91.4 million miles.
January 3: 3 a.m. Quadrantid meteor shower. Over 60 meteors per hour emanating from the northeast — but the bright waning gibbous moon washes out the sky drastically reducing the number of meteors seen.
January 7: 5 a.m., Waning crescent Moon below Saturn.
January 10: 6:30 a.m., crescent Moon near Venus
January 21, the bright waxing gibbous Moon directly below Jupiter
January 26, full Moon (11:39 p.m.)

Such is our view from Earth...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Moon's apparent celestial companion

Tonight, as darkness settles, the bright near full Moon has a companion nearly bumping into it. The Moon happens to be in direct alignment with the largest planet of the solar system, Jupiter. While Jupiter is 40 times wider than the Moon, it is over 1500 times farther away, making it appear as a bright pinpoint next to the glaring Moon.

Such is our view from Earth...