The sky this week from December 3 to 10

Sunday 5 December
It’s the turn of comet C / 2021 A1 (Leonard) to shine! Soaring at 2 a.m. local time, your best bet to catch this comet until next week is a few hours before sunrise, as it rises higher in the sky southeast of the constellation Boötes . This tiny ball of ice and dust is currently located within 6.5 ° north of the constellation’s brightest star, magnitude -0.1 Arcturus. It is also floating tonight just 7 ° east-southeast of the 6th magnitude globular cluster M3, which lies just above the celestial border at Canes Venatici.

With the right pair of binoculars, you should be able to capture both the comet and the cluster in the same field of view. Compare their appearance: M3 is about 18 ‘in diameter, while Leonard of magnitude 8 should appear smaller, about 8’ wide.

Be sure to keep an eye out for this comet as it flies over the southeast each morning: by the end of this week, Leonard is estimated to reach naked-eye luminosity before quickly reverting to magnitude. 8 by the end of the year.

Sunrise: 7:07 am
Sunset: 4:34 p.m.
Moonrise: 8:48 am
Moon setting: 5:56 p.m.
Moon phase: Wax croissant (3%)

Monday 6 December
Now that it is moving away from the Sun, the first stage of the Moon is Venus: our satellite is located this evening at less than 3.5 ° below the luminous planet. A little over 2.5 days old, the Moon is a delicate wax crescent perfect for showing off the shine of the earth. This phenomenon occurs when sunlight reflects off the Earth, partially illuminating the part of the Moon’s face that is still in shadow.

The pair are located in Sagittarius, which sits in the direction of the rich central bulge of the Milky Way. There are plenty of deep sky targets here, although the fading twilight and low elevation will make it a challenge. But nearby, Aquarius is home to three Messier catalog entries to track down: the M2 and M72 globular clusters, as well as the bizarre M73 object. Made up of just four stars that astronomers say are not physically related, this asterism is about 1.5 ° east of M72.

Sunrise: 7:08
Sunset: 4:34 p.m.
Moonrise: 9:54 a.m.
Moon setting: 7:05 p.m.
Moon phase: Wax Crescent (9%)

Tuesday, December 7
After having slipped under Venus yesterday, the Moon passes today at 4 ° south of Saturn at 9 p.m. EST. They will already be in bed by then, but you can easily catch the earlier couple at sunset, located in the constellation Capricorn.

The Moon is now a slightly larger crescent crescent, slowly becoming brighter as the number of days since the New Moon increases. Saturn is of magnitude 0.6, lying halfway between Eta (η) and Rho (ρ) Capricorni much lower, of magnitude 5. Zoom in with a telescope to see the fantastic ring system of the planet, which spans 35 “in diameter, or more than half the width of the planet’s disk, which measures 16” in diameter. You can also spot the largest and brightest moon on the planet, Magnitude 8 Titan, located nearly 1.5 ‘northwest of Saturn tonight.

Now is the time to enjoy the view of Saturn, as it will gradually decrease each night. As objects get closer to the horizon, we look at them through more of the Earth’s atmosphere, blurring the image and degrading its quality.

Sunrise: 7:09 am
Sunset: 4:34 p.m.
Moonrise: 10h48
Moon setting: 8:18 p.m.
Moon phase: Wax Crescent (17%)


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