Holidays and family events usually keep us busy this time of year, but
we are expecting a special surprise guest to join us on the sidewalk in
Monrovia on December 2. We'll have a big lovely Moon just two days from
full to show. The giant planets will return to the early evening sky
very soon, but not for another month or so.
Our special guest has been with us before on the sidewalk, and he is
there with us in spirit each month as we aim our Dobsonian reflectors
skywards, beckoning all within earshot to "come see the Moon." Yes John
Dobson will be with us this weekend. If you haven't met John, stop by
to say hello! For those who haven't heard of John, he invented the
Dobsonian telescope mount and founded the Sidewalk Astronomers. Mojo and
I used to bring John out on the San Francisco sidewalks before we moved
south, so it is a special treat when his visits collide with one of our
sidewalk astronomy nights.
Elsewhere in the solar system in December:
Three planets grace the dawn during the first part of December. Jupiter,
Mercury and Mars can be spotted in the southeast low in the sky before
sunrise. Mars is much dimmer than the other two planets. Look for them
from December 7-14. The three planets fit in a binocular view, getting
closer between December 9 to 11. On December 10, these three planets
bunch closer than any three planets will during the next quarter century!
Saturn rises by 10:00 p.m. at the beginning of December and by 8 p.m. by
the end of the month. On December 9th the Moon rises close to Saturn.
The bright Moon will obscure the annual Geminid meteor shower on
Hope to see you on Saturday night between 5 and 9 p.m. We'll skip
Friday night in Pasadena this month, and resume our normal schedule in
January. We'll just have the one target, the nearly full moon to view
Jane Houston Jones
34.2048N 118.1732W, 637.0 feet
Old Town Astronomers: http://www.otastro.org