December 2nd, 2015
The Moon has almost reached last quarter and is now approaching Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion.
Lying about 79 light years away, it appears as a single white star with just your eyes but in reality there are four components to this stellar system. Unfortunately, these are invisible without the use of optical aid but a fainter, unrelated star can be easily seen nearby with binoculars.
The primary star of the system, Regulus A, is a relatively young star and has a very rapid rotational rate of just under 16 hours. As a result, it’s not truly spherical but actually bulges at the equator instead.
After passing Regulus, the Moon will continue its march toward the east and will pass the planets Jupiter, Mars and Venus over the next few days.
All Astronomical Events for December 2nd, 2015
13:30 UT – The nearly last quarter Moon passes Regulus. (Naked eye, Leo, pre-dawn sky.)
The bright star Aldebaran culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 0.9. Naked eye, Taurus, all night.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Astronomical events taken from 2015: An Astronomical Year, available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Night sky simulations created using Mobile Observatory for Android devices.
Easy Things to See With a Small Telescope
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