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12/16/2015 – Ephemeris – The planet action is still in the morning

December 16, 2015

Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 16th.  The Sun will rise at 8:13.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:02.   The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 10:57 this evening.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Mercury is becoming marginally visible very low in the southwest before it sets at 6 p.m.  In the morning sky there are three bright planets.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, at 12:15 a.m. in the east.  Mars will rise next at 2:39 a.m. also in the east, followed by Venus at 4:41 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Mars lies in line between Venus below and Jupiter above, almost halfway between the two.  Don’t confuse Mars with the star Spica which is brighter and right below it.  Saturn will rise at  6:54 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Comet Catalina is a telescopic object about one and a half the width of a fist held at arm’s length above Venus and the same amount left of Mars.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.



The moon as it might look in binoculars at 8 p.m., December 16, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

The Morning planets at 7 a.m., December 17, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter and moons in a telescope at 7 a.m. December 17, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Venus as seen in a telescope as seen at the same magnification as Jupiter above, at 7 a,m. December 17, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Comet Catalina Track

Comet Catalina and Mars for the next week. Note the magnitudes for the comet are about 1 magnitude too bright. It will take binoculars or a small telescope to spot the comet which will not show a tail visually. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets at sunrise and sunset

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for December 16, 2015 showing the location of the planets and the Moon at that time. Created using my LookingUp program. Click on the image to enlarge.

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