• Night sky is brighter during December.
  • Mark Alan Lovewell

Hidden Planets

Three of the solar system’s planets are huddled together this month and you can’t see them. Saturn, Mercury and Venus are so close together, too close in proximity to the sun to be seen. All four celestial objects are in the zodiacal constellation Sagittarius.

Only a few weeks ago, Venus was high in the eastern sky at sunrise and visible to all who were out early. Saturn was low in our western sky at sunset. Mercury was bouncing back between morning dawn and evening sunset. But this month they are too close to the sun to be seen.

Their distance from Earth is impressive. The sun is about 93 million miles away. Mercury is 71 million miles away. Venus is 148 million miles away. Saturn is slightly more than a billion miles away. Yet all three are close and in the same part of the sky.

The stars at night are very much like our planets in one respect. When you look at them in the night sky, some of them look close together, when they are truly not only distant from us but distant from each other.

The only visible planets this month are Jupiter and Mars. Both are morning planets and they appear high in the eastern sky before dawn. Jupiter is the brightest and it is hard to miss. The red planet Mars is bright, but no where near as bright as Jupiter.
 

 

Sunrise and Sunset
Day Sunrise Sunset
Fri., Dec. 8 6:55 4:11
Sat., Dec. 9 6:56 4:11
Sun., Dec. 10 6:57 4:11
Mon., Dec. 11 6:58 4:11
Tues., Dec. 12 6:59 4:11
Wed., Dec. 13 6:59 4:11
Thurs., Dec. 14 7:00 4:11
Fri., Dec. 15 7:01 4:12

Temperatures and Precipitations
Day Max (Fº) Min (Fº) Inches
Dec. 1 51 45 0.00
Dec. 2 53 35 0.00
Dec. 3 49 36 0.00
Dec. 4 48 37 0.00
Dec. 5 48 29 0.00
Dec. 6 59 44 0.63
Dec. 7 52 37 0.01

 

Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 49º F

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