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.

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.

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.

Early Sunsets

The first quarter moon appears near the bright planet Jupiter this weekend. Both are in the zodiacal constellation Pisces.

Jupiter and Uranus

The week ahead offers a rare opportunity for those who have never seen the distant planet Uranus. Uranus is only barely visible to the unaided eye, but can be seen with binoculars.

Moon

In the week ahead the late night moon moves through the summer constellations. Tonight, the moon is in the zodiacal constellation Libra and rises late in the evening.

Moon and Planets

If you haven’t found Mars yet, tomorrow night, Jan. 2, offers a great opportunity. The moon and Mars appear side by side. The moon is one day past full moon, and the two rise together about an hour after sunset. They are in the zodiacal constellation Cancer, near the Sickle in the constellation Leo, the lion.

Mars

This is the month to look for Mars. The bright red planet rises in the east sky about two hours after sunset. Mars is best viewed when it is higher in the east, after 9 p.m. and it is the brightest celestial object in the east. Its reddish color gives it away.

Moon and Jupiter

If skies are clear, stargazing will be great into next week. Tonight will be moonless; the moon is in the New Moon phase and too close to the sun to be seen. The moon won’t interfere until late in the week.

Mars by Moonlight

The planet Mars is close on Tuesday, the closest it has been in two years. You’ll have no trouble finding it when it rises in the east shortly after sunset, for it is the brightest of “stars” in the eastern sky. Mars appears high in the east at 10 p.m. and almost overhead at midnight. Mars is in the zodiacal constellation Cancer.

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