Southern Cross Stargazer for Dec. XX-XX, 2012



By 6 a.m. the waning crescent moon rises in the east between Procyon, Little Dog, (right of the moon) and the dim Beehive star cluster in Cancer, Crab, (left). Bright Jupiter rises around 12:15 a.m. and approaches the Zenith by dawn. The Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux, lie left of Jupiter. Ruddy Mars rises in the east about 3 a.m. and leads Leo, Lion, above the eastern horizon. The Big Dipper appears in the northeast. Gigantic Orion, Hunter, strides toward the Zenith in pursuit of westbound Taurus, Bull. The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) and the V-shaped Hyades cluster drift toward the northwest. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, lower in the west. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, toward the northwestern horizon. The Royal Family turns into the northwest.


In the predawn, the old moon rises 6 degrees from the star Regulus, elbow of Leo, Lion. Aim telescopes and cameras to dim Comet Ison cruising 2 degrees left of Mars in the east.


Blue-green Uranus rises in the southeast at dusk, opposite the sun, in Pisces, Fish, and sets in the west at dawn Tonight it will be brightest and closest to Earth, visible in optical equipment for weeks.


New moon occurs at 8:35 p.m. Five planets grace the evening sky: at dusk brilliant Venus glows high in the southwest in Libra; silver Saturn lies 5 degrees above Mercury low in the southwest; dim Neptune sails across the south in Aquarius; Uranus begins its nocturnal voyage in the southeast in Pisces, Fish. The tilted Sagittarian Teapot pours onto the stinger tail of Scorpius in the southwest. Capricornus, Sea Goat, wanders into the southwest. Grus, Crane, stretches its starry neck above the southern horizon. Fomalhaut twinkles above Grus. By mid-evening Cetus, Whale, swims along the southeastern horizon. In the east, Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, toward the Zenith. Hercules leads Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the vast Summer Triangle westward. Cygnus, Swan, soars within the Triangle. Bright Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles in the northwest. The Summer Milky Way arches from the southwest to northwest. The Royal Family reigns in the north. Capella rises in the northeast. The Seven Sisters dance on the eastern horizon.


In the predawn the Zodiacal Light may be visible rising in the east. A pyramid of translucent light contains zillions of sunlit dust particles from deep space. Dim Comet Encke cruises 10 degrees above the Gemini Twins in the northeast.

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375,

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