Sky Highlights and NEKAAL Events for DECEMBER 2016

  • December 7 – First Quarter
  • December 13 – Full Moon
  • December 20 – Last Quarter
  • December 29 – New Moon
  • January 26, 2017 – first General Meeting of New Year, Topeka Library, 7 pm.

PLANETS in December 2016

Evening Sky:

  • Mercury – in southwest
  • Venus – in southwest
  • Mars – in south
  • Uranus – in southeast
  • Neptune – in south

Midnight:

  • Uranus – in west

Morning Sky:

  • Jupiter – in southeast
  • Saturn – in southeast, starting late in December

CONSTELLATIONS well placed in evening during December 2016

North to South, at 8-10 pm:

  • Ursa Minor, the Little Bear, also the Little Dipper
  • Cepheus, the King of Ethiopia
  • Cassiopeia, the wife of King Cepheus
  • Lacerta, the Lizard
  • Perseus, vanquisher of Medusa and rescuer of Andromeda
  • Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia
  • Pegasus, the Winged Horse
  • Triangulum, yes, the triangle
  • Aries, the Ram
  • Taurus, the Bull
  • Sagitta, the Arrow
  • Cetus, the Sea Monster

SKY EXTRAS in December 2016

  • Still LOTS of evening planets in December ! Check out the planet list above. Uranus is easily visible in binoculars, even visible naked-eye with deep dark-vision adaptation, from very dark skies. Mars is readily visible, but don't mistake it for its visual twin, the red star Antares.
  • The great Geminid meteor shower peaks December 13, unfortunately right at full moon, which will wash out this year's show.
  • Comet fans: we're coming into a 6-8 month period offering lots of comets. Already late in December, one evening comet should be visible in binoculars: periodic comet 45P, with the unlikely name of Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova. Look fairly low in the western sky in evening twilight, best late in the month within the constellation Capricorn.