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Bruce McClure

Planet Uranus in moon glare December 9

Tonight’s moon is close to Uranus on the sky’s dome. The lunar glare glare will it tough to spot, but notice stars nearby … and come back when the moon is gone.

Geminid meteors radiate from near star Castor in Gemini.

Geminid meteor shower 2016 ahead

Peak night for the Geminids in 2016 is December 13 (morning of December 14). Best around 2 a.m. Moonlight interferes but these meteors are bright. Maybe you’ll catch a cool photo!

A photograph of the constellation Cetus the Whale, via Till Credner and Wikimedia Commons.

Star of the week: Menkar

It’s not the most famous star in Cetus, or the brightest, although it carries the designation Alpha. But Menkar has its own claims to fame.

New York City sunset by Flickr user Jerry Ferguson.  Original image.

N. Hemisphere? Watch for earliest sunsets

2016 solstice on December 21 , but the earliest sunsets at mid-northern latitudes happen on or near December 7. In the S. Hemisphere? Then watch for your earliest sunrises.


Moon and Neptune on December 6

The December 6, 2016 moon is near Neptune, only solar system planet not visible at all from Earth to the unaided eye. From some places, the moon will pass in front of Neptune today. Charts and info here.


Orion’s Belt and the Celestial Bridge

To the Aymara of Bolivia, Orion’s Belt is the Celestial Bridge, uniting the sky’s northern and southern hemispheres.

The moon, Venus and Mars as seen from North America on December 4, 2016. But no matter where you reside worldwide, look first for the moon on this date, and then seek out Venus and Mars. Read more

Moon and Mars closest December 4

Use the moon to find Mars this evening. Bright Venus is nearby. Then watch day by day, as the gap on our sky’s dome between Mars and Venus shrinks.


Don’t miss moon and Venus December 2

The moon and Venus are the 2 brightest nighttime objects. Think photo opportunity! Or just enjoy these 2 beauties in the west early Friday evening.

These are star trails, and one of the brightest trails here is Alpha Arietis, or Hamal.  To learn which one, click here, then click on the image you find.  This neat image is by Herb Raab on Flickr.

Hamal is an ancient equinox star

Hamal, also known as Alpha Arietis, is the brightest star in Aries the Ram. Learn the role this star played in defining the term First Point in Aries.


Aries? Here’s your constellation

How and when to see the constellation Aries in the night sky, plus info about this constellation in the history of astronomy and in mythology.