Long Night Moon, New Year dawn

Friday December 28, 2012

The full Long Night Moon appears tonight in the east-northeast at 5:05 p.m., half an hour after sunset. Our moon will reflect the missing sun’s light to Earth all the nearly 15 hours of darkness. From mid-December into the first week of January day length is little more than 9 hours.

Luna travels a high trajectory, with radiant Jupiter 2.5 hours in the lead. See moonset tomorrow morning at 7:52 a.m., which brings us to the enchanted hour before sunrise. The latest sunrises of the year, 7:22 a.m., begin tomorrow and occur through Jan. 9. There will be many a dark morning to awaken to the awe-inspiring dawn of the New Year.

Tomorrow at 6:15 a.m. the moon, now in the west, guides us to brilliant stars Procyon to its left, Capella to the far right, Pollux and Castor above. In this area of the western sky at 6:15 in the evening we find the distant suns of the Summer Triangle -- Vega, Deneb and Altair.

To our delight, Vega and Deneb greet us again in the morning, appearing in the northeast. Continuing to roam the morning sky, gaze southeast, to the right of blue-white Vega, to locate yellowish planet Saturn.

Most dazzling of all, Venus rises at 5:44 a.m., below and to the left of Saturn. Expect to see Venus later if hills or buildings block your view of the horizon. Our neighbor planet is so bright that it can be enjoyed climbing higher through all the colors of dawn, until about 7 a.m.

To contact Judy Isacoff go to www.naturesturn.org.


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