Babe Among the Stars - December 2007

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Galaxy Babe's column banner, showing a full moon and some little folk looking up at the sky

Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth - Ptolemy

December anniversary: Astronomer, alchemist and astrologer Tycho Brahe1 was born on 14 December, 1546. In those days, astrology was considered a serious science, and the author of De Stella Nova supplemented his income by forecasting days which had unfavourable aspects. Still today in parts of Europe it's possible to hear a day when everything goes wrong referred to as a 'Tycho Brahe Day'.

December Diary Dates

  • 20: Coma Berenicids meteor shower, only observable from the Northern hemisphere. It's not renowned for high ZHR (Zenithal Hourly Rate) and as the best time to view is post-midnight, you'll need to be well-insulated against the cold night.

  • 22: Winter solstice at 06:12am: shortest day/longest night (Northern hemisphere).

  • 23: Look for Mars close to the Full Moon. Did you know all full moons have names? December's is 'The Cold Moon', also known as 'Long Nights Moon'.

  • Christmas: Have you ever wondered about what the Star of Bethlehem could possibly have been?

  • 27: Don't miss the first-magnitude star Regulus (alpha Leonis aka Cor Leonis [Lion's Heart]) in the constellation Leo which is close to the waxing lunar crescent this evening. Persian astrologers around 3000 BC had Regulus (which they called 'Venant') as one of their four 'royal stars'.

  • 31: Whether you're celebrating New Year's Eve or Hogmanay at a party full of imbibing people or spending it alone, why not take a few moments to wander outside and stare at the vast skyscape above your head. Roman centurions used to test the eyesight of an individual soldier by commanding him to count the stars in the Pleiades. How many can you count - would you have been worth your weight in salt had you been alive then? See how many constellations you can identify, or even if you can name any stars. Wishing you clear skies, and enjoy the view!

smiley - crescentmoonMoon Phasessmiley - fullmoon

First quarter: 17 Dec

Full Moon: 23 Dec

Last quarter: 31 Dec

smiley - santaMerry Christmas smiley - reindeer and a Happy New Yearsmiley - cracker

Babe Among the Stars

Galaxy Babe

06.12.07 Front Page

Back Issue Page

A little birthday cake
1Pronounced 'teeko bra-e'. The 'e' on the end is the sound of the 'e' in 'pet'.

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