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The Night Sky in December

Nature volume 158, page 785 (30 November 1946) | Download Citation



FULL moon occurs on Dec. 8d. 17h. 52m., U.T., and new moon on Dec. 23d. 13h. 06m. The following conjunction with the moon take place: Dec. 12d. 04h. Sateam 4° S.; Dec. 19d. 21h., Jupiter 1° S.; Dec. 20d. 02h., Venus 1° N.; Dec. 21d. 22h., Mercury 0.8°N. Mercury is a morning star, rising at 6h. on Dec. 1 and 7h. 20m. on Dec. 31, and attains its greatest westerly elongation on Dec. 9. Venus is conspicuous in the morning hours, rising at 5h. 54m., 4h. 50m. and 4h. 23m. at the beginning, middle and end of the month respectively. During this period its stellar magnitude varies between —4 and —4.3. The planet attains its greatest brilliance on Dec. 23 when its stellar magnitude is about —4.4. Mars is too close to the sun for favourable observation throughout the month. Jupiter, a morning star, rises at 5h. 28m., 4h. 50m. and 4h. 05m. at the beginning, middle and end of the month respectively. ThV stellar magnitude of Jupiter remains nearly —1.3 throughout December. Saturn can be seen during most of the night, rising at 20h. 28m., 19h. 30m. and 18h. 21m. on Dec. 1, 15 and 31 respectively. It is easily recognized as it is close to the star δ Cancris and cannot be mistaken for a star owing to the absence of twinkling. The following occultations of stars brighter than magnitude 6 take place in December: Dec. 1d. 18h. 36.0m., 69 Aqar. (D); Dec. 11d. 02h. 31.2m., 181 B.Gemi. (R); Dec. 11d. 04h. 13.6m., ϰ Gemi. (D); Dec. 11d. 05h. 14.3m., ϰ Gemi. (R); Dec. 13d. 23h. 27.7m., 46 Leon. (R). D and R refer to disappearance and reappearance respectively, and the latitude of Greenwich is assumed. Winter solstice is on Dec. 22d. 11h.

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