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Southern Cross Stargazer for Dec. 14-20, 2014

Sunday

Geminid Meteors may be visible until dawn.

Last Quarter Moon occurs at 7:51 a.m.

At dusk, fading Mars in Capricornus, the Sea Goat, is visible in the southwest until 8 p.m. Brilliant Venus, the Evening Star, emerges from the southwestern horizon to the lower right of Mars. Dim Neptune sails high across the southwest in Aquarius. Fomalhaut twinkles below Neptune. Blue-green Uranus floats in Pisces, Fish high in the south.

Cetus, the Whale, swims below Uranus. Phoenix spreads its wings on the southern horizon. Aries, the Ram, chases Pegasus, the Winged Horse, westward. Vega, in Lyra the Harp, leads the vast Summer Triangle across the northwest. Cygnus, Swan, becomes the Northern Cross.

The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, their daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, higher in the northeast. The Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, the Bull, toward the Zenith. Ruddy Aldebaran (the Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face).

By 8:30 p.m. gigantic Orion, Hunter, rises higher in the east. The Great Orion Nebula (stellar nursery where new stars are born) glows from Orion’s sword. Spectacular view in telescopes! Procyon, Little Dog, appears in the east. Mid-evening, brilliant blue Sirius (nearby star) sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the southeast. The Gemini Twins: Castor and Pollux climb over the northeastern horizon. Bright Jupiter escorts Leo, Lion higher in the east by 10:30 p.m. The Big Dipper appears in the northeast.

Monday

By 6:30 a.m. silver Saturn leads huge Scorpius over the southeastern horizon. Spica, in Virgo the Springmaiden, twinkles in the southeast. The waning moon floats above Spica. Corvus, the Crow, flies into the south. Bright Arcturus, a red supergiant, sparkles in the east. The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Bright Jupiter escorts the Lion westward. Capella leads the Charioteer across the northwest. The Gemini Twins drift into the northwest. Orion strides lower in the west. Sirius sparkles in the southwest trailed by the Pups in the south. Procyon, Little Dog lies in the west.

Friday

At dawn, the waning moon leads Saturn and Scorpius above the southeastern horizon.

Saturday

Celebrate the Winter Solstice with Southern Cross Astros at Bill Sadowski Park on Southwest 176th Street west of Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay. Don’t park on private property on 79th Avenue: Tickets will be issued.

Program:

4:30-5:30 p.m. safe solarviewing.

6-7 p.m. Bring Your Own Picnic to the campfire circle.

7-8 p.m. A program of SCAS photos will be shown in the classroom with books available by donation.

8-10:30 p.m. Star Party on the observation deck.

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

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