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Wondrous Sky Alignments On Tap For Friday’s Winter Solstice

20 Dec 2018, 16:08 UTC
Wondrous Sky Alignments On Tap For Friday’s Winter Solstice
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Winter solstice revelers get into the spirit at gathering held in Two Harbors several years back. They’ll be celebrating the special day again tomorrow (Dec. 21) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Two Harbors Lighthouse. Bob King
Friday’s a day of cosmic convergences. We start early with the brilliant morning planet Venus occulting a star. An hour later, Mercury and Jupiter appear at dawn in a fine, close conjunction. Then at 4:23 p.m. (Central Time), the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky for the northern hemisphere, marking the moment of the winter solstice. And … the moon will be only hours from full!
Let’s begin with Venus. If you’re outside between 5 and 7 a.m., it’s that incredibly bright “star” in the southeastern sky. Around 6 a.m. Central Time (7 a.m. Eastern and 5 a.m. Mountain), the planet will cover up the 6th magnitude star HIP 72373 (also called SAO 158808) for 10-15 minutes across the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. and Canada as well as from Central America. If you live in the Pacific Standard Time zone, you won’t see the event because it will happen with Venus still below the horizon. From the Eastern Time Zone, the ...

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