November 28-December 8, 2013

South Bend, Indiana

December Morning Telescope Views

Posted by chuck // April 22, 2013 // in Events // 0 Comments

Whether Comet ISON is visible or not after it rounds the sun on Thanksgiving Day 2013, observers who set up telescopes in early December will have other celestial highlights to offer spectators before sunrise.  If it survives, Comet ISON will rise before the sun in the east southeast. In an arc to the right of the cheap online levitra soon-to-rise sun will be generic cialis sales Mercury, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter. 

Saturn-7Dec7am.pngAt 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 7, for example, the head of the comet is over 10 degrees above the horizon.  For reference, your fist held out at arm's length is roughly ten degrees across. To the comet's right is yellowish Saturn with its gorgeous rings.  Saturn never fails to delight when witnessed in a telescope. 

Meanwhile, to the south and 5 mg viagra almost 50 degrees up, or about halfway from the horizon to overhead, is the ruddy planet Mars. 

Further right, in the west, and about four fists above the horizon is giant Jupiter, shining brightest of them all at magnitude m= -2.6.  Be sure to look at Jupiter in binoculars or small scopes, for you can see its four moons changing position from day to order cialis cialis day, just as Galileo did over 400 years ago.

Mercury is buy viagra online viagra always skyDec-Mercury.pngnear the sun, so often difficult to find or not visible.  Guy Ottewell's Astronomical Companion 2013 notes, "Mercury and Saturn...come to within less than 1/3 degree of diovan buy online each other, around 1 UT on November 26.  Incrediby, the two previous mornings are when Comet ISON, racing 4 degrees to 5 degrees per day, passes only 5 degrees from each of them" (p.27). 

Halfway between Mars and Jupiter is another good target--the Beehive Cluster. Nearby stars include Spica, Arcturus, Regulus, Procyon, Castor, and Betelgeuse.

Over consecutive days Comet ISON will gradually shift northward until it is among the circumpolar field of stars. The planets (or wanderers in Greek) will similarly shift against the background stars throughout the look here month. By December 26 the comet nearly passes over our north pole, a closest point of approach at about 1/2 Astronomical Unit.  In early December after sunset, Comet ISON is above the horizon but slung out low, so harder to see; the morning view is preferred.  By late December, however, circumpolar ISON is within telescopic views both after sunset and before sunrise, again, provided it survives that long. 

One hour before sunrise

At 7:00 a.m. on December 7, 2013, you'll find the planets and ISON at their respective azimuth (compass heading) and altitude (angular height) in degrees, as seen from the Comet Festival site in South Bend, IN:

  Sun Comet ISON Mercury Saturn Mars Jupiter
Azimuth   103  117 125  164 268
Altitude   12  0 14  49 37
(Rises)  07:59 AM 05:55 AM  07:00 AM 05:36 AM  01:32 AM 7:31 PM



NOTE (added Sept. 17, 2013)

The descriptions above cite one hour before sunrise, but from South Bend, IN, that is already into the astronomical twilight when the rising sun's light begins to impinge on the night sky. Click calendar to zoom.  This will matter most if you're trying to cheap cialis online observe a diffuse comet tail.

By definition, the morning astronomical twilight begins when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon; nautical twilight begins when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon; and civil twilight begins when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon.  Twilight ends, obviously, at sunrise.  You can get twilight times for other USA locales at


Click calendar to zoom.

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