Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Conjunction tonight, December 30, 2008!

As you can see in this illustration stolen from Sky & Telescope's "Sky at a Glance" for Dec. 26 2008 - Jan. 3 2009, the thin crescent Moon is going to have some pretty company (particularly Venus!) in the West just after sunset today and tomorrow!

I feel bad about this, because I knew about it...and forgot. I was even checking my magazines for interesting stuff the other day and overlooked this!

Thanks to Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy for the reminder.

Go out after sunset tonight and check it out!

UPDATE: Use the Moon tomorrow (December 31) to find Venus with the naked eye in broad daylight! I'm not sure if this will work tomorrow - the atmospheric glare of the Sun may wash out both the Moon and Venus - but I have observed Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn in the daytime using just my own eyes, so it's worth a shot! Try blocking out the Sun with a chimney or church steeple, then look for the Moon about one-and-a-half three (maybe?) handspans to the left (East) of the Sun. Once you've found the Moon's not-so-thin crescent, look in its general neighborhood to see if you can spot the brilliant point of light that is Venus! (It might help if you use a cardboard tube from paper towels or toilet paper to isolate the part of the sky you're looking at! This also helps to enhance the appearance of colored stars at night.)

SEE ALSO: Another Monkey: A Conjunction for the End of the Year

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