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12/23/2020 – Ephemeris – Let’s look for the naked-eye planets for this Christmas week

23 Dec 2020, 05:15 UTC
12/23/2020 – Ephemeris – Let’s look for the naked-eye planets for this Christmas week
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 23rd. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:06, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:18. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 2:49 tomorrow morning.
Let’s look for the naked-eye planets for this week. Jupiter and Saturn are both low in the southwestern sky around 6 pm. Jupiter is the very bright one. Below and right of it is the dimmer Saturn it by a quarter of a degree or half a moon width. They crossed paths for us two nights ago, in 20 years, though not as close. They can still be seen in the same low power telescope field. Saturn will now set first tonight at 7:20 pm with Jupiter following a minute later. Quite high in the southeast and above the 9 day old Moon at that hour will be Mars, still in Pisces. Mars’ distance is increasing to 76 million miles (123 million km) away. It will set at 2:41 tomorrow morning. Brilliant Venus will rise at 6:33 am in the east-southeast as it seems to retreat slowly toward the Sun, but actually it’s heading way around behind the ...

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