Merry Christmas, everyone! Maybe you’ll have clear skies tonight and feel like some fresh air. If so, here are a few sky sights you can expect to see on this special night.
Mars has faded to magnitude 0.4, but it’s still the brightest object in the southern sky at the end of evening twilight. Look for the orangey-red “star” more than four fists high in Pisces the Fish. For the next few nights, it passes just below the faint asterism called “The Circlet,” seven stars arranged in a small hoop visible with the naked eye in darker skies. In light-polluted skies, use binoculars. Stellarium
The comet’s back! 46P/Wirtanen is slicing across Auriga the Charioteer and well-placed for viewing in the eastern sky as soon as it gets dark tonight. Look for it 7° to the lower left (northeast) of bright Capella. By local midnight, it stands almost direct overhead, but don’t wait that late to see it because the moon will be up. The comet is still close to Earth and scurrying along at more than 2° per day. Stellarium
Last night (Dec. 24), the sky cleared off, affording a good look at comet 46P/Wirtanen, which has been ...