December
Astronomy: MARS:
December is the month to study Mars as it will not be this close to Earth again until 2016. Mars is actually brighter than Sirius
the brightest star in the sky. December 23 is a full moon so look for Mars close by. From December 2007 until April 2008 you will be able to see
Mars all night long rather than just the early mornings.

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ASTRONOMY
January

The astronomical buzz in January will be all about Mars. Not only is it the brightest planet in the night sky at the beginning of the month, on January 30
Mars is heading for a collision course with an asteroid. If asteroid 2007 WD5 impacts with the Red Planet, there is a chance that backyard observers with
large telescopes will be able to see a cloud of dust and debris that is kicked up from the resulting crater. Mars and the moon appear close together in the
sky on January 19. On January 22 the Full Moon will rise alongside the Beehive Cluster, a pretty little collection of stars in the constellation Cancer. Two
days later on January 24 the moon will rise near Saturn in the east.

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February

The big event in the heavens this month is the total lunar eclipse. On February 20, 2008, the moon will slip into Earth's shadow and darkness will slowly
cross the face of the full moon. The event begins at 8:43 pm EST and will continue for the next few hours. The moon will be totally in Earth's shadow by
10:01 pm EST and will remain there for approximately 50 minutes. Totality ends at 10:51 pm EST and the moon will then slowly return to its full brightness
by 12:09 am EST. As you are watching the moon, notice the two bright "stars" on either side. The brighter of the two is Saturn, and the other is the star
Regulus. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion, which looks a bit like a backward question mark.

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March
In the Northern Hemisphere, spring begins in March with the vernal equinox. For those in Europe and on America's East Coast, spring begins early on
March 20. For those on the West Coast of North America, spring begins before midnight on March 19. During the vernal equinox, the sun rises directly in
the East and sets directly in the West. Another sign of spring in North America is the onset of Daylight Saving Time. It has been moved up from April to
March 9, allowing for more sunlight during evening hours.

Spring is the best time to observe distant galaxies. Use a telescope to scan the skies behind the tail of Leo the Lion in the constellations of Coma Berenices
and Virgo. The light from these galaxies traveled millions of years to reach your eyes.

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APRIL

The first week of April marks the sixth annual National Dark Sky Week. Turn off excess exterior lights and enjoy a truly dark sky. Astronomy Day is April
21: celebrate by watching the annual Lyrid meteor shower that night. Your best chance to see some "shooting stars" is to look in the northeast an hour
after sunset until moonrise a couple hours later. April also bring Saturn's rings showing their widest extent for the year on the 28th. They are slowly tilting
until they will be edge-on from our point of view, disappearing in backyard telescopes in 2009.

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Internet Magazine
JULY
July 10 brings a conjunction of Saturn and Mars. The two will be less than a degree apart on this evening and the nights that come before and after. The
yellow and red pair will be low in the west after sunset. Mars has been the subject of great interest lately as a spacecraft has landed on its surface and
uncovered water ice and analyzed soil that could harbor life.

Rising in the east in July is a brilliant point of light that is Jupiter. It will be overhead all evening in July. Also in the east comes the Summer Triangle. Its
points are marked by the stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair. The Milky Way flows through the triangle.

On the evening of July 28 to 29 a meteor shower known as the Southern Delta Aquarids will pepper the sky with falling stars.

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May is the best month all year to spot Mercury. Mercury is the most difficult to see of the five planets that are visible to the naked eye. Because it is the
closest planet to the sun, it never strays far from the sun's bright rays. During the first three weeks of May, Mercury lingers above the horizon after sunset.
Look in the west for a bright "star" just above where the sun has recently set. Mercury is brightest the first week of May and dims significantly by the
third week.

Leftover dust from Comet Halley crosses the Earth's path around May 5, triggering the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. The "falling stars" occur during new
moon, the best time of month to catch meteors due to the extra-dark skies.
Astronomy- What's happening in the night sky:
JUNE
After watching the sunset in June 2008, look a little up and to the left to see reddish Mars and yellow-white Saturn. The two planets move closer together every night until
they meet in July. Through a telescope, the rings of Saturn and its largest moon, Titan, are easily seen.

Directly overhead in June is the Big Dipper. You can use it to find four other constellations. Trace the curve of its handle downward to find the bright star Arcturus in
Bootes and continue on to the next bright star, Spica, in Virgo. Take the two farthest bowl stars of the Big Dipper to point northward toward the North Star, Polaris, in
Ursa Minor. Between the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) and the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor) snakes the form of Draco the Dragon.

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Astronomy- What's happening in the night sky:
AUGUST
The Perseid Meteor Shower overnight from August 11 to 12 is summer's best sky show. Up to 80 hours can be seen streaking through the sky, heading away from the
constellation Perseus in the north. The planets will also be putting on a good show, with five visible at one time. This occurs as Venus returns to the evening sky, appearing
as the brightest "star" in the west.
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Astronomy- What's happening in the night sky: September
September is a time for change. The kids go off to school, the weather grows cooler, and fall official begins. The first day of autumn arrives during the equinox at 11:44 am
EDT on September 22. This is the point when the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. One week earlier, on September 15, the popular full moon
known as the Harvest moon occurs. It reaches its fullest point at 5:13 am EDT on September 15, which means it will look almost completely full on both September 14
and 15 at sunset. Jupiter remains a bright point of light in the south, while Venus continues to slowly rise and shine through the colorful sunset low in the West.
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ASTROLOGY - Stargazing
What's happening in the night sky in FEBRUARY?
February  is a very busy month for stargazers with conjunctions, a penumbral lunar eclipse, and occultations, but one of the most exciting events will be Comet Lulin
passing close to Earth. It may even get bright enough to see without optical aid, but binoculars will help to spot it. Comet Lulin comes its closest to Earth on February 24,
when it reaches its brightest and, coincidentally, lies right next to Saturn in the evening sky.

What's happening in the night sky in JANUARY?
Early January gives observers a chance to see Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus at once. They are all in the southwestern sky just after the Sun sets. Mercury and
Jupiter do not stay in the sky for long, by the end of January they have sunk into the sun's glow. Saturn comes up late in the evening and provides a good
target for those with new Christmas telescopes. Look for the shadow of Saturn's rings on the planet and notice how the angle of the rings changes over the
month.


What's happening in the night sky in DECEMBER?
Mercury makes a brief appearance at the end of December. A few days before Christmas, the closest planet to the sun rises above the western horizon, joining
Jupiter and Venus just after sunset. By New Year's Eve, Mercury and Jupiter lie side-by-side while Venus and a crescent moon hang above.Early January
gives observers a chance to see Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus at once. They are all in the southwestern sky just after the Sun sets. Mercury and Jupiter do not
stay in the sky for long, by the end of January they have sunk into the sun's glow. Saturn comes up late in the evening and provides a good target for those
with new Christmas telescopes. Look for the shadow of Saturn's rings on the planet and notice how the angle of the rings changes over the month.

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