24 December 2012

Christmas Conjunction

Christmas Conjunction
This year for Christmas day, we get a nearly full Moon and a terrific alignment with the giant planet Jupiter and the bright star Aldeberan. They will dominate the night sky from sunset to sunrise, bringing a slowly changing pattern to bear as they soar high across the Christmas nighttime sky. The Moon’s gradual eastward motion will be perceptible in this tightly-packed alignment, rewarding the careful observer with a chance to see the Moon’s proper motion as it orbits the Earth, moving roughly its own diameter in distance across the night sky every hour, compared to Jupiter and Aldeberan. If you use binoculars to view the spectacle, you'll get the added bonus of seeing the Hyades star cluster, an open cluster of stars surrounding the star Aldeberan.

I wish you clear skies and nice viewing as we close 2012.


taranova said...

Just wanted to say how much i appreciate your observations & information... i pop in regularly, but rarely see comments so thought it's about time i said something, lol
all the best, suzi

The Urban Astronomer said...

hi Suzi - thanks for the nice comment. I write a fairly uncontroversial column, so I don't expect many comments :-)

Thanks for checking in!

-- Paul