Mark Alan Lovewell

Full Moon in Gemini

Tonight's full moon, the Ice Moon, appears in the zodiacal constellation Gemini. Take a look and you'll see the moon in close proximity to the two brightest stars in the constellation Pollux and Castor. Pollux is the brighter of the two and the brightest star in the constellation. The moon forms a nice triangle with the two.

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New Year Skies

The evening skies in the New Year will be filled with planets. Every visible planet, but Mercury, are appearing in our night sky. It is a parade across the evening sky, starting with Mars to the East. Next there is Jupiter and Saturn. Saturn is really close to Venus low in the southwestern sky after sunset.

Saturn and Venus are only visible for a short time before, together the two descend into the twilight.

Mars will be visited by a bright gibbous moon on Tuesday night. Or, you can look Monday night for them fairly close. They are in the zodiacal constellation Taurus.

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Christmas Stars

If you are looking for a Christmas star, you will not be disappointed. There are at least two planets low in the western sky this coming week, masquerading as stars. The brightest Venus is underneath the planet Mercury. They set early in the evening, set in the twilight.

The two planets are tough to spot so timing and a clear western horizon are essential.

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Winter Arrives

Winter arrives on Wednesday at 4:48 p.m. There is not a day in the year here with less sunlight. The weather in the last two months has certainly pointed us to this day. The temperatures is already seasonally colder than we are used to in recent years. And we've already seen snow.

Take a step outside tonight to enjoy this astronomical event, as well as a likely meteorological night.

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Geminid Meteor Shower

The year's best meteor shower takes place Tuesday night. The Geminid meteor shower is the most productive. You'll see far more meteors than the most popular meteor shower, the Perseid Meteor Shower. The best time this year will be before 10 p.m., when the waning gibbous moon rises in the east. It is a bright moon so it is very likely you'll miss a good part of the show later in the evening.

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Mars Occultation and Full Moon

On Wednesday night the brilliant full moon appears right next to the bright planet Mars. The two are so close you may have trouble seeing Mars.

At 11:08 p.m. that evening Mars gets within one degree of the moon. Through a telescope, the sight is easier. The moon appears to skim along side of Mars without covering it.

However, in other parts of the country and world, the moon will overlap the distant planet. Mars will appear to be extinguished.

No matter the time you look Wednesday night, you've got a sight to see.

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Crescent Moon and Saturn

The ringed-planet Saturn appears low in the southwestern sky after sunset. The planet once commanded much of the attention during summer, appearing in the southern sky. With the advancement of the seasons Saturn's time in our sky is significantly shortened. Now the planet hangs in our evening sky for an hour or so. Saturn is being upstaged by the prominence of Jupiter farther to the east. Jupiter is the brighter. And the red planet Mars now appears above the horizon a short time afterwards.

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Brilliant Mars

The bright red planet Mars now shines low in the eastern sky. You can see it easily an hour or more after sunset. It glows as a red jewel and there is no missing it. Take a moment to go outside and look for it. The planet resides in the constellation Taurus, the mythological bull. Not far away, you'll find the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters. The small star cluster is always a night time crowd pleaser.Not far from Mars is the orange colored bright star Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus. With Mars in this beloved constellation, the stars and the planet look particularly intriguing.

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Moon and Mars Tonight

A bright gibbous moon appears underneath the red planet Mars tonight. Mars is in the zodiacal constellation Taurus, a constellation we associate with winter. The moon is edging towards the zodiacal constellation Gemini.

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Election Day Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse will take place in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The eclipse will be watched across the country and as far west as Hawaii and coincides with Election Day, a day for voting. This is when the full moon, the Bay Scallop Moon, slips into the earth's shadow.

The first evidence of the eclipse will take place at 4:08 a.m. The moon will start to move through the darkest part of the Earth's shadow, the Umbra.

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