Weekly Stargazing Calendar for 2010-12-27

This week will be much less eventful than the previous one, but since there will be a meteor shower peak next week, it’s possible to see a few meteors as early as January 1st. They are called the Quadrantids.

As for the planets, here are their positions for this week:

Mercury and Mars: The two planets appear quite close to each other and with Pluto they form an elongated triangle in the constellation of Sagittarius (unfortunately you will not be able to see the dwarf planet unless you have a very strong telescope).

Venus: The sister planet can be seen close to the constellation of Libra. Just like Mercury, it can only be seen at dawn and dusk.

Jupiter and Uranus: The two gas giants are still visible close to each other between the constellations of Aquarius, Pisces and Cetus. Jupiter can easily be spotted with the naked eye, even in highly illuminated cities. However for Uranus you will need a telescope.

Saturn: The ringed giant can be seen with the naked eye in the middle of the Virgo constellation, not far from the bright star Spica.

Neptune: The blue giant requires a telescope pointed between the constellations of Aquarius and Capricornus in order to be seen.

As you know, the Moon has a big impact on the visibility of celestial bodies in the night sky. So here are the Moon’s phases for this week:

Dec. 27

Dec. 28

Dec. 29

Dec. 30

Dec. 31

Jan. 1

Jan. 2