Long dark nights provide observers in the northern hemisphere an excellent opportunity to get to know the winter constellations. Follow the three stars of Orion’s belt up to find Aldebaran which marks the red eye of Taurus, the Bull. Follow the three stars down to find Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, in the constellation Canis Major. Betelgeuse, the orange giant star of Orion’s right shoulder, and Rigel, the brilliant blue-white star of his left leg, point the way to Gemini, the Twins. Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, poor Orion appears to hang upside down.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
Images Courtesy of Mobile Observatory.
03:32 UT – The just-past new Moon is north of Venus. (Venus: 97% illuminated, magnitude -3.9, apparent diameter 10.2”. Sagittarius, not visible.)
17:00 UT – Mercury is 2.0° south of asteroid 4 Vesta. (Mercury: 97% illuminated, magnitude -0.8, apparent diameter 4.8”. Vesta: magnitude 7.5. Sagittarius, not visible.)
The Comae Berenicid meteor shower comes to an end. (Peak Zenith Hourly Rate: 3)
The Ursid meteor shower reaches its maximum (Peak Zenith Hourly Rate: 10)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are easily visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Learn more about every upcoming astronomical event in 2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle eBook) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Kindle eBook) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Paperback Edition).
The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook allows astronomers to log 150 observing sessions and includes an appendix of hundreds of suggested deep sky objects.