New Year's Eve SkyWatch

New Year's Eve will present a striking view in the southwest after sunset.  The two brightest objects in our night sky, Venus and the crescent Moon will be in a beautiful close pairing.  If you have a clear view low in the sky and close to the horizon, you will also find Jupiter and Mercury side by side.  Mercury will be just to the left of Jupiter, much fainter and much harder to see in the fading twilight.

You'll have plenty of time to see the Moon and Venus, but you'll have to look very soon after sunset to see Jupiter and Mercury.

By the way, Neptune will be just to the lower right of Venus, and almost directly beneath the Moon, about twice as far from Venus as Venus is from the Moon.  Unfortunately, you won't be able to see Neptune without a telescope, and it is so far away that even in a telescope it looks like a faint blue, slightly swollen star.

As a bonus, at Midnight, Saturn will have risen and will be low near the horizon and due East below the constellation Leo the lion.

Happy New Year!  Be safe, have fun, and remember to go outside and look up.

-Steve Nipper, Manager of Planetarium


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"The presentation of the pure physical reminds visitors to BODY WORLDS of the intangible and the unfathomable. The plastinated post-mortal body illuminates the soul by its very absence. Plastination transforms the body, an object of individual mourning, into an object of reverence, learning, enlightenment, and appreciation. I hope for BODY WORLDS to be a place of enlightenment and contemplation, even of philosophical and religious self-recognition, and open to interpretation regardless of the background and philosophy of life of the viewer.” 

—Dr. Gunther von Hagens, Anatomist, Creator of BODY WORLDS