Weekend Skies

Tonight and throughout the weekend, you may see a shooting star speeding across the sky. The meteor may be a straggler, left over from the Geminid Meteor Shower that peaked last night.

Mars

The brightest planet in the evening sky is the red planet Mars. The planet is brilliant, close and a spectacle in the east in our evening sky. Mars is 54 million miles away, awfully close for a planet. Mars is closest to the Earth on Dec. 18, and in opposition Dec. 24.

Winter Moon

The moon moves up close to the bright planet Mars this weekend. The two are closest on Sunday night and both are in the zodiacal constellation Taurus. The full moon on Sunday is called the Cold Moon by the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

New Year Moon

Late-night revelers will be out on New Year’s Eve celebrating under a Last Quarter Moon. The moon rises in the eastern sky, less than an hour after the arrival of the New Year. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Leo, a constellation most often associated with spring and summer.

Moon and Venus

Remember Venus hanging low in the southwestern sky after sunset during summer? Tomorrow morning you’ll find the same brilliant planet low in the eastern sky before sunrise. It is a dramatic shift. Tomorrow morning Venus is joined by the crescent moon. The two are close together. They both rise together as daylight approaches. Sunrise is after 6 a.m.; so the best view is probably around 5 a.m. and earlier.

Moon and Planets

A thin crescent moon appears tomorrow morning right above two planets. The moon is right above Venus, the brightest “star” in the East. The ringed-planet Saturn appears underneath Venus. The assembly of three celestial objects will be an impressive sight.

Crescent Moon and Planets

Tonight after sunset, the thin crescent moon hangs low in the southwestern sky. The moon is moving from the zodiacal constellation Virgo to Libra.

Harvest Moon

For a sign of autumn in the night sky look at next week’s full moon. Monday night’s harvest moon appears in the zodiacal constellation Pisces. The full moon is close to the astronomical equator. Just as the sun will cross the equator later this month on the first day of fall, so too the full moon appears close to the equator.

Autumn

Autumn arrives on Monday at 11:44 a.m. Though the temperatures this past week are more like summer than fall, there is plenty of evidence of a change. The day is split almost equally between daytime and night time.

Moon and Anglers

A thin crescent moon appears close to the ringed planet Saturn low in the southeastern sky prior to sunrise tomorrow morning. Early morning risers will likely spot the two.

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