Winter sky for the New Year holidays

Of his free time is to provide the Christmas holidays at the starry sky above us. There, as always, it will be interesting - a parade of planets, a small meteor shower and beautiful non-astronomical phenomena.
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Photo of user Upsilon Astroforum

Two astronomical paradoxes


Before moving on to the beauties, you have to disappoint you a little. If you think that after the day of the winter solstice morning comes already earlier, then for the territory of Russia it is not. Already many managed to get bored to go to work in the dark, but until the very end of December the Sun will rise later. Yes, the light day increases, but this is due to the later sunset. Here, for example, the schedule for Ufa:
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If you play with the resources that show the time of sunrise and sunset of the Sun, it is clear that in the southern hemisphere the situation is reversed - there the Sun begins to rise all later from the beginning of the month.
The second paradox is that the Earth passes its pericenter in 2017 on the evening of January 4 and at that moment will be closest to the Sun.What is so cold, you ask, and I remind you that because of the almost circular orbit, the Earth at perihelion (the closest point to the Sun) receives only 7% more solar energy than aphelion (farthest), and the change of seasons determines mainly the slope of the axis of rotation of the Earth.

Parade of planets


In the evening sky of the end of December, five planets will line up in a line, but only two of them will be visible to the naked eye. Venus, Mars, Uranus, Neptune will be on the horizon in December and January evenings, and Mercury will “jump over” to the morning sky in the coming days. But you will not see Uranus and Neptune without a telescope, and observations of Mercury are hampered by a short distance from the Sun. By the way, Saturn will not be far in the morning sky, and despite the fact that all six planets cannot be seen at the same time, this will be a full-fledged parade of planets in a sector of only 70 °.
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For those who will not sleep


If you are lucky with the weather on December 31, a magnificent picture will rotate over your heads. Mars and Venus will be perfectly visible to the naked eye after sunset, in January they will rise even higher.
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In the north-west, the summer-autumn triangle of Vega, Deneb and Altair will be hidden behind the horizon.
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In the north, low over the horizon will arrange Big Dipper
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Photo of pavel S Astroforum
And in the east appears the sovereign master of winter - Orion. There are a lot of interesting things about him. Betelgeuse, Procyon and Sirius form a winter triangle, and Sirius, Procyon, Pollux and Castor, Capella, Aldebaran, Riegel - a winter circle. In addition, the Pleiades and the scattered Hyades are clearly visible to the right of Orion.
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The photo is even more beautiful.
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Dolph1n Astroforum's Photo
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Photo of user Citizen of the Universe
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Photo of user Upsilon Astroforum
And in the morning Jupiter will rise.
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Meteor showers


On the night of 3 to 4 January there will be a maximum of the Quadrantide meteor shower. Last year, the activity was so-so, but what if someone is lucky?
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Photo of VLANN Astroforum

Comets


Now in the sky there is not a single comet visible to the eye. But in the telescope you can see the comet 45P / Honda-Mrkos-Paidushakova.
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Photo taken from the page of the group AstroAlert "Observational astronomy"
With comets, there is little hope for February, when the same comet 45P / Honda-Mrkosa-Paidushakova will pass just 0.08 astronomical unit (12 million kilometers) from Earth and, if lucky, can become visible through binoculars or even with the naked eye.

Non-astronomical phenomena


In winter, long nights, this purely statistically increases the chance to see the northern lights. Yes, they rarely reach middle latitudes, but the radiance of the spring and summer of 2015 is teased by constantly falling chances.
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Dolph1n Astroforum's Photo
In winter, ice crystals are more common in the atmosphere, which can refract light and create halos, false suns and solar columns. Here is a general scheme.
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In reality, the chances are low that all types of ice crystals will be in the atmosphere, and usually one or two kinds fall out.
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Photo of Mirasun Astroforum
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Photo of granat Astroforum
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Photo of user Анатолий Белкин Астрофорум
Halo can be moon.
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Photo by Marat (Kukuksumushu) Astroforum
And the abundance of artificial light sources in the winter often creates a forest of light pillars, which are formed according to the same principle.
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Both photos by user ЖЖ denisanikin
And here the ground inversion bends the smoke from the pipes. The land is calm, but from a certain height the wind appears and the smoke turns beautifully. This phenomenon is also more common in winter.
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Oleg1774 Astoroforum's Photo
There is a lot of beauty of the most different nature in the sky. Do not yawn.

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