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Celestial Neighbors Gathering

27 Dec 2008, 18:25 UTC
Celestial Neighbors Gathering
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Skywatchers are encouraged to head out after dark this weekend for a special gathering of our nearest celestial neighbors. Starting on Saturday night (12/28/08), a tiny waxing crescent moon will be found low above the western horizon shortly after sunset. Use the bright planet Jupiter as your guide. The moon will sit just a few degrees below Jupiter. Once you’ve found these, look for tiny planet Mercury sitting between the two. I should mention, that you’ll need a nice, low western horizon to see this, as Mercury is never very far from the Sun. Over the next several nights, the moon will grow in phase as it climbs higher in the sky, working its way towards bright Venus on Tuesday night (12/30). Events like this are known as conjunctions. These can be quite beautiful and have been viewed as highly significant events by people throughout history. Checkout Sky & Telescope for more information.

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