Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Eve Sky Show

Dec. 24, 2007: It's Christmas Eve, and you're snuggled cozily in your den. A glowing fire gently crackles and pops in the fireplace, and your head starts to droop as you nod off. Just then, something cold and wet nudges your cheek. You open your eyes to stare directly into a large black nose. It's time to take the dog for his walk.

Grumbling in vain, you put on your coat, snap the leash onto the wiggling dog's collar, open the door to a rush of cold air. You step outside and enter a magical landscape.

The night isn't dark, it's glowing with a silvery-white light. Up above, the 98% full moon looks huge and clear in the azure sky. It just might be the brightest moon you've ever seen. That's because it's the highest-riding full moon until the year 2023.

...And not far from the beautiful moon glows fireplace-red Mars. This Christmas Eve, Mars is at its closest to Earth for the next nine years. Mars is also "at opposition." That's astronomy-lingo for "directly opposite the sun." It means Mars is up whenever the sun is down: on Christmas Eve, the Red Planet will be visible all night long. - Source: NASA, Ms. Coppe for e-mailing the science club this

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