EYES TO THE SKY: Moon softens edges between day and nightMore Info
November 26 – December 9, 2018
Mount Washington — Consider that the Full Moon rises in an easterly direction at about the same time the Sun sets along the western horizon. The moon is visible all night and is equally lovely to observe the following morning, when the Full Moon sets along the western horizon as the Sun rises more or less opposite. Moving forward from November’s Full Moon, which occurred on the 23rd, let’s follow our moon as it wanes (decreases in size) and rises roughly an hour later each night until it appears in the early morning hours as crescent phases in the pre-dawn and dawn southeastern sky.
Tonight, November 26, a gibbous (larger than half) moon appears on the east-northeast horizon at 8 p.m. and sets in the west-northwest at 11:10 a.m. tomorrow morning. See it well above the western horizon in the early morning. This waning gibbous moon travels at the rim of the Winter Circle of stars, the most prominent stars and constellations of the season.*
By Friday, the 29th, a half moon, last quarter, rises close to midnight, accompanying springtime’s quintessential all-night constellation, Leo the Lion, visible now during the hours after midnight. The superb EarthSky illustration highlights the moon and Regulus, Leo’s brightest star. Regulus appears blue-white to the naked eye. To see the whole figure of the Lion, best look under dark skies before 6 a.m. Civil twilight is around 6:30 a.m., sunrise around 7 a.m.
Planet Venus, at peak brilliance as December begins, should be visible well into dawn. The Morning Star will remain dazzling all month. From November 30 through December 2, see the triangle shaped by the moon, Venus and Arcturus, the golden star to the left of Venus. The threesome may be visible in the east-southeast until about 6:30 a.m.
There is particular beauty in the moon’s cycle surrounding new moon, which occurs on December 7. Enjoy charming morning crescents until Luna goes dark on the 7th and then, beginning on the 8th, enjoy early evening crescents as the moon begins its cycle, visible in the southwest after sunset. On the 8th, with the aid of binoculars, search for planet Saturn above an eyelash crescent close to the southwest horizon.