Planetary Skylights                                                                                                       

Jupiter remains the brightest planet in the night sky high up in Gemini and although Mars may well be the centre of attention in April. [Read more about The Celestial Ocean - April 2014]

The Spring Equinox

The date of the Vernal Equinox and officially the start spring in the northern hemisphere falls on March 20th this year. This is when the Sun's path - the ecliptic, first crosses the celestial equator on its apparent journey northwards into the sky. [Read more about The Spring Equinox ]

Jupiter remains the dominant planet in the night sky high up in Gemini. [Read more about Planetary Skylights - March 2014]

February Meteors

The minor Alpha Aurigids meteor shower peaks from Feb 6 - 9th. Rates are only the same as sporadic levels (4-6) but if you do spot a a meteor heading away from the direction of the zenith, (overhead) where  currently Auriga resides at this time of year, it is likely to be an Aurigid! [Read more about February Meteors]

February Skylights

If you haven't yet spotted Mercury it may still be glimpsed during the first week in Feb low in the SSW evening twilight sky. Look for this elusive world 45 minutes after sunset no more than a fist height at arm's length above the horizon. By the 8th Mercury will lost in glare once again. [Read more about February Skylights ]

New Year Meteors

Quadrantids Meteor Shower.  Picture from Astronomy Magazine website.With a New moon on the 1st, you may spot a few shooting stars early in the New Year; especially on the evening of the 3rd, when the Quadrantids meteor shower peaks. [Read more about New Year Meteors ]

Mercury rushes up into the evening twilight sky from mid January until the first week of February [Read more about January 2014 Planetary Skylights ]

The Winter Solstice

The Sun reaches its lowest position in the sky on December 21st this year - the date of the winter solstice, when the Sun arcs just over 12 degrees above S horizon at local noon. The northern hemisphere is then tilted away from the Sun and useful daylight amounts to just 7½ hrs: the shortest day. [Read more about The Winter Solstice]

Considered now to be the most prolific annual meteor shower, the Geminids are active from December 7-16, reaching a peak this year in the early morning hours of December 14th. Unlike other showers, Geminids stem from debris shed by a small asteroid called Phaethon, which passes within 10 million miles of the Sun. [Read more about Meteor Activity - December 2013]

Comet Ison

At the time of the December newsletter, Comet ISON may already a news worthy item - or not. Comet ISON reached perihelion on Nov 28th when it slung shot around our Sun - just 750,000 miles above its surface at an astonishing 845,000 miles per hour. If the comet has not totally fragmented it may be a spectacular sight during the first week of December - or at least the tail of it will be, either just after sunset over in the SW, quite close to Venus, and also just before sunrise over in the SE and near Saturn.    [Read more about Comet Ison ]

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