Venus, Saturn and Mars before breakfast

If you haven’t gotten out in the dark mornings yet this month, make it a point to do so before the moon washes it out. This morning, the skies had cleared from our overnight rain, and with a pair of cheap binoculars I paused for a couple of minutes to look at Venus, Saturn and Mars. Venus and Saturn are together in the the eastern morning sky, with our nearer neighbor blazing away at -4.45, completely outshining the larger but more distant Saturn (0.77). Mars was near but a bit south of zenith, just above Orion, but shining brightly at Mag . 0.33, sitting about 20 degrees above Betelgeuse, no slouch itself at Mag 0.6.

Of course, I also admired searing Sirius, scintillating bright red, blue, and green in the early morning air.

Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Beta Scorpii on December 10th

If you go out before sunrise on Sunday, December 10, and look in the ESE, (binoculars will help a lot) you should see Mercury, Mars and Jupiter in a conjunction with the star Beta Scorpii. All four objects will fit in a 1.1° field of view. Sky and Telescope magazine’s “This Weeks Sky at a Glance” page has a write up near the bottom.