Star log for Monday, December 13, 2010


(photo: "Starry Twilight," contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by Mike Geiger of Ottawa, Canada.)

I'm assigning no new astronomical homework for tonight. It's your chance to catch up in case your schedule or your clouds or your sleep have prevented you from going out and seeing the sights yet.

Mercury is still visible just as the sky gets dark after sunset. I saw it last night, but the skies were thoroughly clear and the horizon was thoroughly flat if you miss it this time around, fear not there will be better chances coming soon, so keep yourself aware by following something like the fabulous nightly Earth & Sky site.

If you were ever unsure which object in the sky is Jupiter tonight is definitely your night. First, find the moon, the find the really really bright thing next to it. Bingo. Even with the moon so bright you can still get out those binoculars and check out where the moons of Jupiter are this time.

The moon has climbed now all the way to first quarter. It rises around noon; see if you can impress your friends by pointing it out in the afternoon!

And, the best treat of all, tonight should be the peak of the Geminid meteor shower, which is well worth waking up in the middle of the night for.