Home > Comet, Ephemeris Program, Planets > 12/30/2015 – Ephemeris – Last look at the bright planets for this year

12/30/2015 – Ephemeris – Last look at the bright planets for this year

December 30, 2015

Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 30th.  The Sun will rise at 8:19.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 5:10.   The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 10:58 this evening.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Mercury moved to its greatest separation from the Sun Monday night.  It will be visible very low in the southwest before it sets at 6:42 p.m. in the west-southwest.  In the morning sky there are four bright planets.  Jupiter will be the first to rise, actually at 11:23 p.m., in the east.  Tomorrow it will be just left of the Moon.  Mars will rise next at 2:27 a.m. also in the east.  It’s left of the bright star Spica.  Venus will rise at 5:11 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Saturn will rise at 6:10 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Comet Catalina is a binocular object just below the bright star Arcturus, which is pointed to by the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper.

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

Addendum

Mercury

Mercury at 6 p.m., 50 minutes after sunset, December 30, 2015. It may be visible as early as 5:30. Binoculars will help. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

The morning planets, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Saturn, plus Comet Catalina at 7 a.m. December 31, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and the Moon

Jupiter and the Moon tomorrow morning December 31, 2015 at 7 a.m. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Telescopic view of Jupiter at 7 a.m. December 31, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Telescopic view of Venus at 7 a.m. December 31, 2015. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Saturn

Telescopic view of Saturn at 7 a.m. December 31, 2015. The satellites would be pretty much invisible except for Titan with Saturn low in the sky in twilight. Created using Stellarium.

The three planet telescopic views are shown to the same scale, that is seen with the same magnification.

Comet Catalina Track

Comet Catalina’s path 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)..

The planets at sunrise and sunset

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for December 30, 2015 showing the location of the planets, the Moon and Comet Catalina at that time. Created using my LookingUp program.

Several of the images above are shown smaller than actual size.  Image expansion lately hasn’t worked.  If you are using Firefox, right-click on the image, and then click on View Image.

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