Easy star gazing Christmas night

December 25, 2011 | By | Add a Comment
Send to Kindle

I have used the Apple Ipad Sky Safari Pro app to quickly produce a few introductory sky charts that can be used tonight (Christmas night) and the following few nights. If you have a clear sky, you will be able to step outside and easily find the planets Venus and Jupiter plus the Southern Cross and ‘The Pointers’ using just your unaided eyes. If you are after a bit more of a challenge, you can use binoculars or a telescope to find Uranus, Nepturne and the Andromeda galaxy. Patience will be required though for the last three if you haven’t looked for them before.

Wide angle chart showing location of Venus and Neptune at 9 pm AEST (10 pm AEDT) on Christmas Day (25 December 2011). Chart produced for Canberra, Australia (but the chart will also be useful for Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne). Image produced using Apple Ipad app Sky Safari Pro. Image (c) Southern Skies. Used with permission.

Above: Look above the Western horizon at 9 pm AEST (10 pm AEDT) to locate Venus. While Neptune’s position is shown, you will need a more detailed finder chart than the one above to easily locate Neptune due to its faintness. A suitable finder chart can be found here for both Neptune and Uranus.

Wide angle chart showing location of Jupiter, Uranus and the Andromeda Galaxy at 9 pm AEST (10 pm AEDT) on Christmas Day (25 December 2011). Chart produced for Canberra, Australia (but the chart will also be useful for Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne). Image produced using Apple Ipad app Sky Safari Pro. Image (c) Southern Skies. Used with permission.

Above: Look above the North West horizon at 9 pm AEST (10 pm AEDT) to locate Uranus, Jupiter and the Andromeda Galaxy. A pair of binoculars will make finding the Andromeda Galaxy and Uranus (use the finder chart mentioned above) easier than using your unaided eyes. Jupiter on the other hand will be visible to the unaided eye as a bright star.

Wide angle chart showing location of the ancient Greek constellation Orion 'The Hunter' at 9 pm AEST (10 pm AEDT) on Christmas Day (25 December 2011). Chart produced for Canberra, Australia (but the chart will also be useful for Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne). Image produced using Apple Ipad app Sky Safari Pro. Image (c) Southern Skies. Used with permission.

Above: Look above the North West horizon at 9 pm AEST (10 pm AEDT) to locate the group of stars that make up Orion ‘The Hunter’. The constellation isn’t labelled in this view. Look for the upside down stick figure, with the stars Rigel and Betelgeuse labelled.

Wide angle chart showing location of the Southern Cross and the Pointers (Alpha and Beta Centauri) at 9 pm AEST (10 pm AEDT) on Christmas Day (25 December 2011). Chart produced for Canberra, Australia (but the chart will also be useful for Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne). Image produced using Apple Ipad app Sky Safari Pro. Image (c) Southern Skies. Used with permission.

Above: Look above the North West horizon at 9 pm AEST (10 pm AEDT) to locate the Southern Cross and the two Pointers (Alpha and Beta Centauri). If you live in Brisbane or even further North, you may find that either group of stars is not visible due to the curvature of the Earth. South of Canberra, the stars will be higher in the sky.

Filed in: Southern Hemisphere Sky Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

This website is maintained by Paul Floyd. I am an amateur astronomer (and school teacher) with 25 years experience (as at 2015) in running a range of education and public astronomy outreach activities. As of January 2015, I have been providing astronomy information via the WWW for eighteen years.