Every month there are wonderful sights to see in the sky above.
You might see a very thin Crescent Moon some 16 degrees to the right of bright planet Venus on the evening of December 4. The next day the Moon will be easy to see some 7 degrees to the upper right of Venus shinning at a -4.7 magnitude.
The Moon continues to move to the east passes 6 degrees below the planet Jupiter. Look for them before midnight on December 17.
Finally, in the Morning Sky on the 26th of December the Moon is once again near Mars and comet ISON is closest to the East and may be visible to the eye low in the western horizon after susnset, binoculars aid the view. Each passing day the comet moves northward, higher in altitude in the west north west sky with diminishing brightness.
The first two weeks of this month what remains of comet ISON is found in the above the North Star Polaris making it's way to the North East toward the bright star Capella, after darkness falls. The Moon should not be too much of an interference this, but the better time to look at this would be in the early morning hours before sunrise.
While out looking for comet ISON, keep an eye for Quandrantids meteors, than peak on the 3rd of January. The radiant point is above the star Nekkar or Beta Bootis. Rate is normally 60 to 120 per hour.
The nearly Full Moon rises with the bright planet Jupiter 5 degrees to its left on the evening of January 14. Jupiter is at opposition the next day, situation within the center of the stars that outline the pattern the constellation of Gemini. At 11 degree from Jupiter the bright stars Castor and Pollux complete a triangle pattern with Jupiter. At -2.6 magnitude it outshines all of the bright stars in the winter sky.
A similar scene of our Moon and the red planet Mars can be seen in the morning sky on Jan 23 at 1:00 am. The moon's phase is now closer to 3rd Quarter. Two days later on the morning of Jan 25 the planet Saturn is to the lower left of the Moon separated by less than 2 degrees of sky.
Before sunrise on Jan 28 a thin crescent moon rise and is followed closely by brilliant planet Venus rising also less than 10 degrees to the moon's left. You should be able to see this two into late twilight.
After sunset on the 1st of February look for the thin crescent Moon 20 degrees above where the had sunset. Once you have the moon in your sights then drop your gaze directly down to the horizon to locate the bright, -0.4 magnitude planet Mercury.
If you look out to the south on February 10th a fat gibbous Moon is less than 10 degrees below the brightly shinning planet Jupiter. The rest of the month the Moon will slide below the planets Mars, Saturn and Venus in the morning sky.
As dawn approaches on the morning of the 19th of Feb Mars, shining at -0.2 is close to 7 degrees to the upper left of a gibbous Moon. The Moon, looking close to 3rd Quarter phase, makes a close pass to 0.5 magnitude Saturn on the morning of Feb 21st. The thin crescent Moon is less than 4 degrees to the lower left of -4.6 magnitude Venus in the late twilight morning sky on February 26th.
If you can find the thin crescent Moon low on the morning horizon on the 27th of February, the 1.1 magnitude planet Mercury is much lower on the horizon some 6 degrees to the lower left of the Moon.
March 9, 2014 Daylight Savings Time begins.
A gibbous moon will pass an average of 8 degrees below the planet Jupiter on evenings of March 10 and March 11. It will then approach the planet Mars, which has brighten in the night sky as it returns to opposition in April. Mars will rise up first on March 18 follow closely by the Moon that is 2 day past full phase. The planet Mars is now -1.0 magnitude but still a small size of 14 arc second as seen in a telescopic view.
Saturn will get a close visit by a gibbous Moon rising in the east around 1:00 am on March 21st.
About 3 degrees of sky will separate the waning crescent Moon and the planet Venus. Venus will remain in the morning sky for most of the year, not departing until October 4, 2014. First sighting of Venus again in the evening sky starts the first week of December 2014.
Next month will have two astronomical events highlighting news outlets, the opposition of Mars and a Total Lunar Eclipse of the Moon.
Looking out at the sky in the early evening of April 6th, the Moon, nearly half phase is sitting 6 degrees below the bright planet Jupiter.
Mars is at opposition on April 8, closest to Earth on April 14 at a distance of 57,406,300 miles. At that distance the planet Mars will subtend a angle of 15.2 arc seconds in size in the sky. The Full Moon subtends and angle of 30 arc minutes or 1800 arc seconds at a distance of 239,000 miles. SO NO MATTER WHAT THAT EMAIL YOU RECEIVED SAYS, MARS WILL NOT BE AS BIG AS THE FULL MOON. You do the math.
The next two oppositions of Mars are May 22, 2016 when it will be a liitle larger at 18.6 arc seconds, or about the size of Saturn without it's rings. The July 27, 2018 opposition is when Mars is closer to the Earth and it's size is 22.6 arc seconds.
It just so happens that a Total Lunar eclipse will happen near the same time, and during TOTALITY the Moon will be reddish. Don't get confused, a simple rule to remember MOON BIG in Sky, Mars small in sky. Don't believe me? Look for yourself since Mars shining at -1.4 magnitude will be 9 degrees to the upper right of the Moon during the Total Lunar Eclipse. MOON BIG in Sky, Mars small in sky.
A Total Lunar Eclipse is in store for all of the Americas on the 15 April. It starts early in the morning entering the umbra at 1:58 AM EDT Tuesday morning, totality occurring at 3:45 AM EDT, exiting the umbra at 5:33 EDT. The north or top of the moon will be just below the center of the umbra at mid eclipse. I would expect the north of the moon to look orange - red color and the south a yellowish or perhaps light blue. That would make be a nice photo. MOON BIG in Sky, Mars small in sky.
Rising late in the evening in the east on April 16th, the Moon, now waning, is a little more than 3 degrees right of the planet Saturn. The next day Saturn will be at opposition and about as large as it will get in the sky, as seen through a telescope about 18 arc seconds. But that is only the planet, when the rings are included the whole system extends to 39 arc second.
The rings are opening up to a 22-degree tilt; the maximum is around 26 degrees next year.
To close out the month, Venus and a crescent Moon make a lovely pair before sunrise on the 25th of April, with Venus shining at -4.1 magnitude to the lower left of the Moon.