Moon and Winter

How far away is winter? If you step outside at midnight, winter already is here. All the constellations of the night at midnight are what we can expect to see in January after the sun has set.

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Full Moon

Tonight’s full moon rises in the east at the same time as the sun sets. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Aries, one of the smallest constellations in the sky.

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Venus, Jupiter and Meteors

The planet Venus is about as close to the earth as it gets, about 25 million miles away. Finding it in the sky is especially difficult right now, because it is between the earth and the sun. But spotting will get easier in the mornings ahead. Earth’s nearest neighbor has shifted from being a sunset to a sunrise planet.

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Daylight Saving Time

Like the rest of the country, the Vineyard will shift from Standard to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday morning. “Spring forward, fall back,” as they say. The concept is that clocks should be turned back an hour. But for those who own old windup clocks, and many with battery-run mechanical clocks, it is better to turn the clock forward eleven hours. Turning a clock ahead instead of back is less punishment on the interior delicate gears.

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Waxing Moon

On Monday night, the gibbous moon appears right near the bright planet Jupiter. The two move high in the east together as the evening unfolds. The two celestial objects are in the zodiacal constellation Pisces. Though appearing together, the moon is more than 251,000 miles away and Jupiter is 418 million miles away.

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Moon Shadow

The full moon is Sunday night. It rises in the eastern sky about the same time as the sun sets in the west. The moon is near the star cluster Pleiades, in the zodiacal constellation Taurus.

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Lunar Eclipse

The late-night moon moves through the constellations of spring this coming week. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, the moon appears in the zodiacal constellation Leo. The moon rises in the east near midnight. The moon is near the bright star Regulus.

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Bright Planet Trio

Jupiter, the brightest celestial object in the night sky this week, is high in the southern sky and can be viewed almost all night. The planet is in the zodiacal constellation Pisces.

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Moon

The last quarter moon rises well after midnight on Tuesday morning. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Virgo and near the ringed planet Saturn. While we are into the first week of winter, there is spring in the stars in the early morning sky. Among the constellations you’ll find is Leo, the Lion and Bootes. The Big Dipper is overhead.

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Lunar Eclipse

The first day of winter is next Tuesday, and early morning will see a lunar eclipse. The moon will pass through the earth’s shadow after midnight. The total eclipse, when the moon is completely covered by the earth’s shadow, will be from 2:41 to 3:53 a.m.

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