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Dan Caton at the DSO 32-inch telescope

Basic Information

Dates of phases of the moon

Telescope recommendations

Up in the Air is a column written by Dr. Dan Caton, and published monthly, on the third Monday, in the SciTech section of the Charlotte Observer (and the Raleigh News and Observer), and gives information on interesting phenomena seen in the sky.

This web site is in support of that column, and will provide additional links and information about the topic discussed this month.

Further information on this month's column as published online 12/13-14 and in print 12/15:\

For my general telescope buying advice, see the link at the left of this page. For binoculars, you can hardly go wrong nowdays. I would advise checking the ratings on Amazon to decice what to buy, even if you are buying locally.

I have provided below a map of the mid-December sky for about 10:00 pm. Note the Milky Way crossing the early evening sky! Of course, the star appear to move overhead during the night the same way as the sun does during the day–this chart is for about 9-10 p.m. To use the chart, hold it out in front of you above eye level. Rotate it such that the label for the direction you are facing is down. For example, facing south you want the “South” label at the bottom (as you are holding it now). The circle represents the horizon, the center of the chart represents the zenith point directly overhead. The CAPITALS are the constellation names. Other names are stars, planets, galaxies or star clusters. The shaded area shows the location of the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy, “M31,” is visible to the dye as a fuzzy patch in a dark, clear sky. The chart below it is for the Orionid meteors.

You may email the author at catondb@appstate.edu

December sky