HAPPY CHRISTMAS & CLEAR DARK SKIES FOR 2002
FROM ALL MEMBERS OF LIVERPOOL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY.
Society News Headlines
- Dec 1st: Lunar occultation of Saturn for Liverpool Disappearance 02:20UTC/Reappearance 03:30UTC.
- Dec 2nd: Comet C/2000 WN1 (Linear) closest approach to Earth (0.316AU).
- Dec 3rd: 30th Anniversary (1971) Mars 3 arrival at the red planet. (USSR Mars lander & Orbiter).
- Dec 3rd: Moon 3° North of Jupiter.
- Dec 3rd: Saturn at opposition in Taurus.
- Dec 4th: Mercury at superior conjunction.
- Dec 7th: Pluto at solar conjunction.
- Dec 9th: Comet P/2001 TU80 (Linear-Neat) at Perihelion (1.937 AU).
- Dec 13th: Geminids meteor shower maximum.
- Dec 14th: Tycho Brahe’s 455th Birthday (1546).
- Dec 14th: Annular eclipse of the Sun. (Not seen from Liverpool).
- Dec 14th: Liverpool AS Members evening at 7:15pm.
- Dec 15th: Moon 2° North of Mercury.
- Dec 15th: 35th Anniversary (1966) of Saturn’s Moon Janus discovery.
- Dec 20th: Deadline for entry’s for the SIRTF spacecraft naming contest.
- Dec 21st: Winter Solstice at 19:23 UTC
- Dec 21st: Moon 4° South of Mars.
- Dec 22nd: Comet P/1993 K2 (Helin-Lawrence) Perihelion (3.110 AU).
- Dec 24th: Ursids meteor shower maxium.
- Dec 27th: Johanus Kepler’s 430th Birthday (1571).
- Dec 28th: Moon 0.2° North of Saturn.
- Dec 28th: Lunar occulation of Saturn – near miss from Liverpool.
- Dec 30th: Moon 1° North of Jupiter.
- Dec 30th: Lunar Eclipse – not well seen from Liverpool.
THE NIGHT SKY DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER 2001
The Sun and Moon
All times are in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.
Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.
2nd 7th 12th 17th 22nd 27th 31st SUNRISE 08:06 08:12 08:18 08:23 08:26 08:27 08:28 SUNSET 15:57 15:54 15:53 15:54 15:55 15:59 16:03
On the 21st at 19:23 UTC the Sun reaches its winter solstice when the Sun halts its apparent motion in declination. At midday it is at its lowest altitude for the year and consequently it is the shortest day of the year.
|PHASES OF THE MOON DURING DECEMBER 2001|
There is a lunar eclipse on the 30th, but please try not to get too excited, because even before the Moon enters the partial phase, it will set as seen from Liverpool.
THE PLANETS THIS MONTH.
Mercury is at superior conjunction on the 4th.
Venus lies close to the south eastern horizon as it swiftly heads towards next years solar conjunction.
After Sunset Mars can be found just west of south tracking from Capricornus into Aquarius passing 51′ north of the star iota Aquarii on the 7th. On the 21st at 01hr Mars is 4.5° north of the Moon.
Marswatch – latest observations of the red planet.
- 4 Vesta is well placed in Taurus at mag 6.5.
- 40 Harmonia is on the Gemini/Orion border at is at opposition on the 19th at mag 10.
For More information on Asteroids Click Here.
Jupiter is a fine evening object shining at mag -2.6 Crisp winter nights observing this giant gaseous world will stick in one’s memory for many years and is often the sigh observers recall as their view through a telescope after the obvious Moon. As with Saturn, Jupiter is still in retrograde motion, and lies high up straddling the meridian at around midnight. On the 3rd the Moon is 48″ north of Jupiter at 11hrs, and later in the month they come even closer with the Moon passing only 18″ north of Jupiter at 13hrs:42m on the 30th.
Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.
O.K. then, Saturn is probably the most memorable sight through a telescope (people can argue for their particular preference!). Smaller than Jupiter at 20″ across and fainter at mag +0.5 it nevertheless offers a nice counterpoint for its brighter planetary neighbour Jupiter. Saturn is at opposition on the 3rd, and on the 1st, with the Moon just 6 hours past full phase, once again occults Saturn but at the more inhospitable time of 02:19 UTC, and reappearance is at 03:30 UTC. On the 23rd Saturn lies 3.5° north of the bright star Aldebaran – alpha Tauri and on the 28th at 09hrs the Moon lies 40″ South of Saturn.
URANUS and NEPTUNE.
This month Uranus and Neptune must really be considered unfavorable now. They are faint and will tend to be lost in the evening twilight arc as they head towards next year’s respective solar conjunctions.
Very poorly placed for observations during this period.
12th Geminids 100 Per Hour Favouable (Moon near new) The accepted maximum of this shower is December 12th. However, some sources suggest the 14th shows an equally strong peak It could be that the peak has drifted as the particle streams orbit changes or it may be that this shower has a temporary double peak as the Earth encounters a stream of material which it does not normally cross. More observations of this particular shower is needed on the 12th, 13th and 14th to ascertain its true nature. 22nd - 24th Ursids 10 Per Hour Quite favourable Click Here. GEMINIDS Click Here.URSIDS
- Dec 2nd Comet C/2000 WM1 (LINEAR) closest approach to Earth – 0.316AU at Perihelion (1.559AU).
- Dec 22nd Comet P/1993 K2 (Helin-Lawrence) at Perihelion (3.110AU)
Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.
- BAA Comet Section Home Page
- Comet Web Sites.
- NASA/JPL Comet Observations Home Page.
- The Astronomer Comet Page.
- Dec 1st at 02hr:20m Disappearance behind bright limb of Planet Saturn 45 secs
- Dec 1st at 03hr:30m Reappearance from behind bright limb of Planet Saturn 43 secs
- Dec 29th at 20hr:06m Disappearance of 1 Geminorum (mag 4.2)