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12/16/09 10:03 P

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Thanks Pam.


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12/13/09 10:25 P

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Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii). Check out last week's tips or the Sky Almanac if you missed a night.

December 13, 2009
The Geminid shower is at its best late tonight. It could produce up to several dozen "shooting stars" per hour. You need a dark viewing location to see them, far away from city lights.

December 14, 2009
The bright constellation Orion, the hunter, climbs up the eastern sky this evening. Orion looks like a lopsided rectangle with three stars forming a short line near the center of the rectangle. These stars represent Orion's Belt.

December 15, 2009
A bevy of bright stars congregates in the east this evening. Sirius, the brightest star in the night, is lowest in the sky. Blue-white Rigel and orange Betelgeuse, the leading lights of Orion, are above it, with the twins of Gemini far to their left.

December 16, 2009
The planet Mercury is just peeking into view in the southwest shortly after sunset this week. It is fairly bright, but it is quite low as the sky begins to darken, so any trees or buildings along the horizon will block it from view.

December 17, 2009
Today is the beginning of Saturnalia, an ancient Roman festival that honored Saturn, the god of agriculture. The planet Saturn, which looks like a bright golden star, is well up in the east at first light.

December 18, 2009
Look for the Milky Way arching high across the north around 8 or 9 p.m. It is the glow of millions of stars in the disk of the Milky Way galaxy. We are looking away from the crowded center of the galaxy and toward the wide-open spaces of the galaxy's rim.

December 19, 2009
The Winter Circle is in good view by mid evening. Its hub is orange Betelgeuse, the shoulder of Orion, the hunter. Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, is to the lower right of Betelgeuse. The other stars of the circle loop around Betelgeuse.

San Bernardino Mtns, Southern California

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