Lovely morning crescent, night dot 5 planets – when the curves align

December 19, 2022: Earlier than dawn, the crescent moon approaches the pincers of Scorpio. After sundown, attempt to spot the 5 vivid planets after sundown.

Picture Caption – View of Earth from the Apollo 17 crew on the best way to the Moon. This translunar coastal photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Antarctic South Polar Ice Sheet. That is the primary time that the trajectory of Apollo allowed to {photograph} the south polar ice cap. (NASA photograph)

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois: Dawn, 7:14 a.m. CST; Sundown, 4:22 PM CST. Lookup native sources for dawn and sundown instances in your location.

Daylight has reached the shortest interval of the yr, 9 hours and eight minutes. Final dawn time (7:18 a.m. CST) begins on the twenty eighthth and can final till January 10th.

Jupiter’s Nice Purple Spot transit instances when it’s on the middle of the planet within the southern hemisphere: 4:28 UT, 14:24 UT; December 20, 0:20 UT. Convert the time to your time zone. Within the US, subtract 5 hours for EST, six hours for CST, and so forth. Use the telescope to see the spot. The instances are from The sky and the telescope journal.

Picture Caption – (December 19, 1972) – The Apollo 17 Command Module, carrying astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Ronald E. Evans and Harrison H. Schmitt, approaches splashdown within the South Pacific Ocean to efficiently full the final lunar touchdown mission of NASA’s Apollo program. (NAS photograph)

It is 50th anniversary of the final Apollo moon mission – Apollo 17. On December 19, 1972, the crew returned to Earth. The command module with Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt landed within the Pacific Ocean.

NASA’s mission abstract acknowledged, “The Apollo 17 mission was the best and error-free piloted mission and represented the fruits of steady growth of {hardware}, procedures, coaching, planning, operations, and scientific experiments.”

This ended the part of human house exploration, throughout which 12 individuals have been positioned on the moon for a brief go to.

Right here is right this moment’s planetary forecast:

Morning sky

Chart Caption – 2022 December 19: Earlier than sundown, the crescent moon is on the decrease left of Spica and the higher proper of Scorpion’s pincers.

There isn’t any vivid planet within the sky this morning. An hour earlier than sundown, the crescent moon, 19% illuminated, is about one-third (30°) south-southeast, at 11.6° Spica to the decrease left.

2019, January 31: Venus and the crescent moon up shut. Observe the “floor glow” on the evening aspect of the Moon.

In its evening half, the moon shines within the earth’s mild. Daylight reflecting off Earth’s oceans, clouds and land gently illuminates the moonlit evening.

Observe the Scorpion pincers, Zubeneschamal and Zubenelgenubi, about 10° within the decrease left nook of the Moon’s crescent. They inform in regards to the brightness of the celebs of the Huge Dipper.

At this hour, Scorpio seems to be climbing over the southeastern horizon. Right this moment, the pincer stars belong to Libra. Scorpio’s brow Dschubba is nearly 10° above the horizon. The center of Antares seems for the primary time in a number of days within the morning, known as heliacal rising.

Within the night sky

Chart Caption – 2022 December 19: Venus and Mercury are seen within the southwest after sundown.

Begin searching for the 5 planet display. Venus and Mercury are low within the southwest throughout brighter twilight. Saturn is the challenger at the moment. Not as vivid as Jupiter or Mars, this outer planet turns into seen about 45 minutes after sundown.

Discover a clear horizon trying southwest. On the twenty fourth dayththe night crescent moon joins the view with the 2 inside planets.

Tonight, half-hour after sundown, good Venus can be about 5° above the SW horizon to the best of the SW level. Though the planet is near the horizon, it’s vivid sufficient to see with out the optical help of binoculars at this dim degree, however it could take a while to seek out it.

Picture Caption – 2019, March 1: Venus and the Moon close to dawn.

One approach I exploit is to pan—stroll both towards or away from the supposed location of the planet to see it relative to a tree or close by constructing. In case you discover one, you may present it to a sky-watching companion, referring the planet to a terrestrial characteristic. The accompanying photograph exhibits the tree referred to by the planet.

Mercury is 5.7° to the higher left of Venus. Each match simply into the identical binocular area of view. The planet is kind of vivid. Are you able to see it with out binoculars?

Saturn is greater than 30° to the higher left of Mercury and simply as far above the south-southwest horizon. It isn’t vivid and sure will not be seen with out optical help at this degree of dimness.

Level the binoculars in a common course to comb the sky slowly up and down or from left to proper in a sample the place the binocular fields of view overlap – a grid search.

Over the subsequent jiffy, the sky will darken much more, and Venus and Mercury can be decrease within the sky. Relying on sky readability, Saturn could also be seen throughout this interval. If that’s the case, search for Mercury and Venus within the southwest, Jupiter within the south-southeast, and Mars within the east-northeast.

Fifteen minutes later, 45 minutes after sundown, Mercury is decrease within the southwest and Venus could be very low, nearly setting, however theoretically seen due to its brightness.

Chart Caption – 2022 December 19: 45 minutes after sundown, Jupiter and Saturn are within the southern sky.

Saturn is well seen within the south-southwest course, and vivid Jupiter is within the south-southeast – about midway (45°) within the sky.

Chart Caption – 2022 December 19: After sundown, Mars is within the east-northeast close to Aldebaran and Capella.

Mars is within the east-northeast course, greater than 20° above the horizon. The crimson planet is 8.3° to the higher left of Aldebaran and greater than 20° to the decrease proper of Capella. Mars is noticeably brighter than the 2 stars.

The subsequent two hours are one of the best time to identify the three outer planets earlier than Saturn is simply too low within the southwest sky.

Jupiter (NASA photograph)

At 6:20 PM CST, Jupiter’s Nice Purple Spot is in one of the best view for sky watchers with telescopes on the middle of the planet within the southern hemisphere. From Chicago, the planet is greater than half approach south and in an excellent vantage level throughout America. By tomorrow morning, all of the planets can be under the horizon. The crescent moon is under the Zubenelgenub. Tomorrow evening presents an bettering likelihood of seeing 5 planets directly.

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