At dusk, aim binoculars to Mercury 0.6 degree on the right of brilliant Venus low in the southwest. Dim Mars lingers above them. They set early. Neptune sails lower in the west. Blue Green Uranus drifts across the southwest in Pisces, Fish. By 9 p.m., bright Jupiter glows in the east beside Leo, the Lion, as Mars sets in the southwest.
Cetus, the Whale, swims across the southwest. Aries, the Ram chases Pegasus, the Winged Horse, toward the western horizon. The Northern Cross stands on the northwestern horizon. The Royal Family swings into the northwest. King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, their daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero. Capella guides Auriga, the Charioteer, into the north. The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, the Bull, overhead. Ruddy Aldebaran (the Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster near the Zenith.
Gigantic Orion, the Hunter, climbs higher in the east to pursue the Bull. The Gemini Twins stand on the northeastern horizon. The dim Beehive cluster shimmers below the Twins. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog trotting above the southeastern horizon. Late evening the Big Dipper rises in the northeast.
Last Quarter Moon occurs 4:46 a.m. and rises in the southeast near Spica in Virgo. Corvus, Crow, flies across the south. Silver Saturn leads huge Scorpius higher in the southeast. Bright Antares, a red supergiant, is the heart beating in the Scorpion. Vega rises in the northeast. Jupiter escorts the Lion westward. Capella steers the Charioteer into the northwest. The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. Sunrise occurs a few minutes earlier each week.
In evening twilight Mercury shimmers 1 degree from brilliant Venus near the southwestern horizon.
By 6 a.m., the waning crescent moon meets Saturn to lead Scorpius higher in the southeast.
The SCAS Astros will host a Telescope Tune-up from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the classroom at Bill Sadowski Park & Nature Center on Southwest 176th Street half a mile west of Old Cutler Road in Palmetto Bay. Bring your old telescope or your holiday gift for advice, assembly, tune-up, consumer information and repair consultation. Light refreshments and books for donation in the classroom. Weather permitting, equipment will be tested on the SCAS observation deck.
Comet Watches will be held at Bill Sadowski Park from 8-10 p.m. Saturdays this month.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org