by Ludovico D’Angelo, Director AAAP
December! Another month upon us, and another month of busy amateur astronomy activities if one has the wherewithal in New Jersey to get outside, stay warm, and do some observing. The major event of the month will be the total lunar eclipse on December 21st, the moon will be the highest in the sky and it is the day of the winter solstice. Unfortunately, it starts at 1:32 AM with mid-eclipse at 3:17 AM. So all you insomniacs out there will have no problem with this. But if you are a heavy sleeper, it may be worth it to you to set an alarm and maybe take a peek outside your window at the right time.
Some other things to look for is Venus in the pre-dawn sky being at its brightest on December 4th. The Geminid Meteor shower will peak on December 13/14. All during the month, Jupiter and Uranus are relatively close to each other, but on January 2nd, they’ll be close enough to see in the same field of view in a telescope. On this note, I hope that if the weather cooperates, lets get some members out to the observatory for this event.
Now if the outside is too cold for you, you can always stay inside and contemplate astronomy and the universe using a nice large book full of images and information. The book is “Sizing Up the Universe” by Richard Gott and Robert Vanderbei. They will be speaking to us in Peyton Hall on December 14th. Both Dr. Gott and Dr. Vanderbei are Princeton University professors. Richard Gott has spoken to our club on many occasions over the years. The first time was in 1972 as a graduate student at Princeton! Bob Vanderbei has been an AAAP club member for many years and is an excellent astro-photographer. Their book will be available for purchase and a book signing after their lecture. It will be a special night, so don’t miss it!
See you all on the 14th!