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Posts by Bruce McClure

Photo via Attila Kalman in Littlehampton, UK.
Tonight | Dec 21, 2014

Happy December solstice, everyone

The December solstice marks the sun’s southernmost point for the year – winter for us in the Northern Hemisphere – summer for friends south of the equator.

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory
Blogs | Dec 20, 2014

Where does noon come only once a year, on the December solstice?

At the North and South Poles, sunrise comes at the spring equinox, noon at the summer solstice, sunset on the autumn equinox and midnight at the winter solstice.

This curved line is called an analemma.  It shows sun's declination - its annular distance from the celestial equator - and difference (in minutes) between time as measured by the clock and time as measured by the sun.  Click here to read more about this image.
Tonight | Dec 20, 2014

The day – from one solar noon to the next – is longest around now

In December, a day – a whole cycle of day and night – is about one-half minute longer than the average 24 hours. That’s true for the entire globe.

ursid-radiant-point-cp
Tonight | Dec 19, 2014

Ursid meteors active around December solstice

As many as 100 Ursid meteors per hour have been seen – but only in short bursts. Expect 5 to 10 meteors per hour.

Skywatcher, by Predrag Agatonovic.
Tonight | Dec 17, 2014

December 2014 guide to the five visible planets

In December, 2014, Venus out briefly after sunset; Mars up in early evening; Jupiter shines from mid-to-late-evening to dawn; Saturn in the southeast predawn; Mercury lost in the sun’s glare.

 
Tonight | Dec 17, 2014

See a star that changes its brightness

Sheliak is a variable star in the constellation Lyra the Harp. Every 6.5 days, you can notice its brightness change.

Quadrans Muralis via Atlas Coelestis.
Tonight | Dec 16, 2014

Everything you need to know: Quadrantid meteor shower

The 2015 Quadrantid meteor shower is likely to produce the most meteors before dawn January 4, although in the glare of the almost-full moon.

2014-dec-15-spica-moon-night-sky-chart
Tonight | Dec 15, 2014

Moon and Spica before dawn December 16 and 17

From around the world, the waning crescent moon will pair up with the bright star Spica in the wee hours of the morning on December 16 and 17.

Geminid meteors radiate from near star Castor in Gemini.
Blogs | Tonight | Dec 14, 2014

Everything you need to know: Geminid meteor shower

Peak viewing was Saturday night, but, if you look in a dark sky late Sunday until dawn Monday, you might still catch a stray Geminid.

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Tonight | Dec 14, 2014

Celestial Chariot high overhead at midnight in December

On these long December nights, you can find the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. There are several easy-to-find and very famous star clusters in Auriga.