STARzology's New Year Countdown To 2010

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Moon And Venus Together Again 31DEC2008

December 31, 2008

The evening sky bids farewell to the old year tonight with a beautiful display: a close pairing of the crescent Moon and the planet Venus. Venus is the brilliant "evening star" a little below or to the lower left of the Moon as they pop into view.

Planet Venus In View 30DEC2008

December 30, 2008
Look for the planet Venus to the upper left of the Moon this evening. It is the brilliant "evening star." They are in the southwest at sunset and set in mid evening.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jupiter, Mercury & Venus Trio On 29DEC2008

December 29, 2008
Shortly after sunset, scan to the Moon's lower right for two bright pinpoints of light. The brighter one is Jupiter, while the other is Mercury. Venus, the brilliant "evening star," stands well to the upper left of the Moon.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Orion's Belt and Taurus Viewable on 28DEC2008

December 28, 2008

Orion and Taurus are in great view right now. They are in the southeast at nightfall. Look for Orion's Belt, which is a short line of three bright stars. Taurus is above Orion, marked by its V-shaped face and its orange eye, represented by the star Aldebaran.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Biggest And Brightest Full Moon In 15 yrs 12/12/08

Each month the Moon orbits the Earth in an oval-shaped path, and on December 12 it will move past it around 28,000km closer than average.

The unusual feature is that this will coincide with a full moon, which will make it appear 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than most full moons this year, on Friday night.

Astrologists say the next encounter with a moon this close and full will not be until November 14 2016.

To make the sight even more spectacular much of Britain should be treated to a phenomenon known as the Moon illusion.

This is an optical illusion in which the Moon appears larger near the horizon than it does while higher up in the sky.

Psychologists have tried to explain this as a trick of the eye, as the landscape on the horizon appears to make the Moon loom much larger, an effect that disappears as the Moon rises above the horizon.

Another astronomical treat that could be seen over the weekend is the annual Geminid meteor shower, one of the year's best displays of shooting stars.

Up to 100 meteors an hour can fly across the sky. The meteors, which are easy to spot with the naked eye, appear to shoot out from the constellation Gemini, hence their name, but they can be seen all over the sky.

The best chance of seeing them is to look away from the Moon.

Meteor showers are caused by small fragments of cosmic debris entering Earth's atmosphere at extremely high speed. They vaporise due to friction with the air, leaving a streak of light that usually very quickly disappears.

(source: / article byLucy Cockcroft)