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12/16/2020 – Ephemeris – Let’s look for the naked-eye planets for this week

17 Dec 2020, 05:01 UTC
12/16/2020 – Ephemeris – Let’s look for the naked-eye planets for this week
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:03, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:14. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 7:09 this evening.
Let’s look for the naked-eye planets for this week. Jupiter and Saturn are both low in the southwestern sky from 6 to 7 pm. Jupiter is the very bright one. Above and left it by half a degree or one moon width will be dimmer Saturn. Below them tonight will be the thin crescent Moon. They will cross paths for us on the evening of December 21st and be seen in the same low power telescope field that evening. Jupiter will set first tonight at 7:40 pm with Saturn following four minutes later. Quite high in the southeast at that hour will be Mars, still in Pisces. Mars’ distance is increasing to 71 million miles (114 million kilometers) away. It will set at 2:55 tomorrow morning. Brilliant Venus will rise at 6:16 am in the east-southeast as it seems to retreat slowly toward the Sun, but actually it’s heading way around behind the Sun.
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