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New year planetary conjunctions.


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At about 6am on new years day, Mars and Neptune make their closest approach to each other in over 700 years, since 22nd March in the year 1305! They will be only a couple of arcminutes apart, with Mars at first magnitude and Neptune at 8th magnitude. Unfortunately at this time they will be well below our horizon. During the evenings of New Years Eve and New years day they will be under half a degree apart, so this will be an ideal time to easily locate Neptune. Actually they will be in the same telescopic field for a week or more before and after New year and won't set until around 9pm.


During this time a dazzling mag -4.3 Venus will also be visible about 12 degrees from the Mars/Neptune conjunction.


From now and through New year, Uranus will make an equilateral triangle with zeta Pisces and 88 Pisces. All three will shine at 6th magnitude and should make a nice looking easy to find triple with the objects now less than one degree apart and closing to under half a degree at new year before moving away again. This conjunction will be quite high in the sky at over 40 degrees altitude in mid evening with Mars and then Venus a little lower, so all the objects are well placed for evening observation.


The crescent moon will pass through the above in the first few days of the new year.

Edited by Tweedledee
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Cheers Pete, there's always something to look forward to! :ph34r: ? Good opportunities to see Neptune...

Might be seeing double on New Years Day morning though :blink:

while we are at it...

We also have two meteor showers, the Geminids around or on the 13th and the Ursids on 22nd Dec. 

Also on the morning of the 13th Dec. you may be able to see the moon occult Aldebaran... on sky safari pro it shows the moon at about 10 degrees above the horizon at 05.30am.

good hunting! 

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Good one Steve, thanks. I didn't have Aldebaran on my radar. :thumbsup: 


Aldebaran is the brightest star (other than the sun) that can be occulted by the moon. It should be easy to see but hard to get out of a warm bed for. :)

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Thanks, Pete. Should be some good photo opportunities. I don't know whether Mars and Venus will reach conjunction next year but I've done my first widefield shot of them and they should get closer on successive  nights.

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