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Volume 15, Issue 48 ~ November 29 - December 5, 2007

After Midnight

The waning moon keeps good company this week

The moon wanes through late-evening and pre-dawn skies this week, rising just before midnight at week’s end and then almost an hour later each night.

Trailing the moon by little more than five degrees Thursday night/Friday morning is Regulus, the heart of Leo the lion. A little farther beyond the blue-white star shines much brighter Saturn.

A day later, Regulus rises first, due east and just before midnight, with the moon now following by six degrees. Saturn is barely three degrees above the crescent moon’s upper tip. At 6am, with dawn little more than an hour away, Saturn and the moon are high in the south.

Early Tuesday, a slimmer crescent moon rises around 2:30am. This time, the bright, blue-white star following some 10 degrees is Spica, the chaff of wheat in the hand of Virgo. About the same distance behind Spica is brilliant Venus.

Wednesday morning, the moon shines about three degrees below Spica, with Venus forming an acute triangle some seven degrees behind both.

With sunset around 4:45 this week, the constellations of winter light up the sky. Perhaps most easily recognized is the hunter Orion with his many bright stars. The red-giant Betelgeuse marks the shoulder of Orion’s fighting arm, from which he wields a club, made up of five stars. Another five stars in his other hand are by some accounts the head of a lion and by others a shield warding off the bull Taurus. The blue-white super-giant Rigel marks Orion’s foot. Three prominent stars, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka make up his belt, from which hangs his sword, marked by a fuzzy, yellow patch — the Orion Nebula.


Illustration: © Copyright 1925 M.C. Escher/Cordon Art-Baarn-Holland; Graphics: © Copyright 2007 Pacific Publishers. Reprinted by permission from the Tidelog graphic almanac. Bound copies of the annual Tidelog for Chesapeake Bay are $14.95 ppd. from Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas, CA 94924. Phone 415-868-2909. Weather affects tides. This information is believed to be reliable but no guarantee of accuracy is made by Bay Weekly or Pacific Publishers. The actual layout of Tidelog differs from that used in Bay Weekly. Tidelog graphics are repositioned to reflect Bay Weekly’s distribution cycle.Tides are based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are positioned to coincide with high and low tides of Tidelog.

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