Sky scene, December 12

The Moon comes out of hiding.


At this time in eastern America it is about 36 hours “old” – that is, past its New Moon moment. It will still be extrenely thin – like a line of faint stars; much more likely to be glimpsed 24 hours later.

The year’s Young Moons are compared in that section of the Astronomical Calendar. In the winter months, the Moon’s outward path is at a low angle from the horizon, less favorable therefore than in the spring. That factor is somewhat offset, this December, by the Moon’s starting-height: when New, it passed well north of the Sun.

There is always much else that could be marked in a chart and can’t really be seen. Pluto and several comets and asteroids are present – but I deleted them because it would be absurd to show them. The stars of Sagittarius are shown merely to give an idea of where we are in the sky. As for Mercury, which is not just low to the horixon but below it: well, it happens to be at its southernmost point in the sky for the year.

2 thoughts on “Sky scene, December 12”

  1. And this, a report from my brother in Florida. Years ago I visited him and we took a walk on the beach and we spotted a very young moon. He’s been a ‘spotter’ ever since…
    his email to me….
    Saw the moon pretty close to new…
    Dec 12 (2 days ago)
    It was in the early evening sky, I think a day or 2 old. One time I saw it a year or 2 ago, and the crescent was broken it was so thin. Tonight the crescent looked almost broken, so it was pretty close to new.
    How’s by you?
    ,,, Reminded me of a sighting I had one morning when I saw the moon rise in a broken crescent too. Still can’t find that email I sent to Guy… Might have been while I was still using webtv. But the discussion went on to describe how those mountains and valleys that break up the crescent are exactly what causes Bailey’s beads just before and after totality during total solar eclipses. And best yet was that broken annular eclipse I went south in 1984, but too much about that to post here.

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