In the Sky

Updated 12/17/2018

Moon: A total lunar eclipse occurs January 20-21. The event begains about 10:30 pm, reaches totality around 11:40 then finishes about 12:45 am. It will be near the Beehive Cluster which should pop out As the moon darkens to its blood red color.

Meteors: The Quadrantid shower will peak January 3-4 around 9:00 pm and diminish by morning. The moon will almost be in the new moon phase and will be the reason why this could be the best meteor shower of all of 2019.

Mars The planet will still be the big and bright throughout December and January. The red planet will start to set around eleven and start to diminish in size throughout January.

Saturn: Generally is not viewable until the last half of January when it will start to appear in the morning dawn.

Jupiter and Venus: Both are morning objects in to January. Note that on January 22 the two planets will only be 2 degrees apart in the early dawn sky.

Comets: The excitement of the year as far as comets are concerned is 46P/Wirtanen. It will start to appear in December and zoom through Orion, Taurus and Auriga. Around December 15 it will be between Pleiades and the Hyades. Its magnitude Is expected to brighten to 7 and be naked eye visible. It will remain bright in the beginning of January but will start to fade to magnitude 9 by the end of the month. It will approach Ursa Major in January.

Websites    Following are some of the CPO member’s favorite websites

NEW HORIZONS is passing by Ultimate Thule. Follow the progress  at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

JUNO is orbiting Jupiter! Follow the NASA link below for updates on the mission:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/main/index.html

It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling and, I might add, a character-building experience. Carl Sagan

The hottest planet is not the closest planet to the Sun. Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, it is not actually the hottest. Mercury does not have any atmosphere meaning that this planet is only hot in the daytime when it is directly facing the Sun. At this stage temperatures can rise to 425°C but at night the planet’s temperature can drop down to a freezing -180°C. Venus is the hottest planet. Its thick clouds trap the Sun’s heat causing Venus to be a sizzling 500°C all of the time!

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