lunar eclipse will require some dedication, as it occurs within
or near dawn, with the full Moon close to setting in the northwest.
The partial eclipse (with the Moon entering the dark umbral shadow
of the Earth) is visible only roughly to the west of the Great
Lakes, the east coast out of luck. Only westerners will see some
totality and only the far west will witness all of it. The partial
eclipse begins at 6:45 AM CST (5:45 AM MST, 4:45 PST), totality at
6:05 PST. The total eclipse ends at 6:57 AM PST. Hawaiians and
Alaskans (plus far northwestern Canadians) will see it all,
including the penumbral portions (in which some direct sunlight
hits the Moon).
The two brightest planets present themselves for your admiration.
Jupiter, which has been with us for some time now, crosses the
meridian to the south by 8:30 PM,
while in southwestern twilight Venus climbs
night-to-night ever higher, now setting half an hour after dusk.
While Venus rapidly disappears, Jupiter is with us until it sets
around 3 AM. Beyond the two, to the east, lies Mars. Rising
shortly before midnight, transiting the meridian at dawn, it is now
seen to the southeast of Regulus and to the south of classical Leo.
As the Earth catches up with it in orbit, the red planet is slowing
down in its eastward trek against the stars. Then off further to
the east, still to the northeast of Spica in Virgo,
Saturn rises just before Jupiter goes down. In lesser
planetary news, Uranus, closely
marking the Vernal Equinox in Pisces, ends its westerly
retrograde motion on Saturday the 10th.
The mornings of Tuesday the 13th and Wednesday the 14th mark the
best time to watch for the Geminid meteor shower, which
usually sends a meteor a minute our way. However, these leavings
of what was once thought to be an asteroid, 3200 Phaeton, will be mostly obscured by a bright
As the autumn constellations,
including our November Star Fomalhaut (and others that skirt
the southern horizon), disappear into the west, they become
replaced by the stars of winter. Look for great Orion climbing the sky in mid-
evening, marked by his three-star Belt, which points down and to the left toward Sirius, the sky's brightest star.