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Moon, Other Cosmic Wonders Meet in Christmas Sky This Week

Dawn on Wednesday Dec. 25, 2013.
Dawn on Wednesday Dec. 25, 2013. (Image credit: <a href="http://astronomy.starrynight.com/">Starry Night Software</a>)

Early risers will have an opportunity to see the moon move through the sky on Christmas Day and throughout the week.

Dawn on Friday Dec. 27, 2013. (Image credit: Starry Night Software)

Over the next few days, the moon will pass a series of bright cosmic markers. If you get up early on Christmas Day (Dec. 25), you will be greeted by a celestial present. The bright waning crescent moon will be just to the right of the planet Mars.

By the following morning, the moon will have moved so that it’s in between Mars and the bright star Spica. Observers in northern Europe and Asia will actually witness the moon passing in front of Spica in what is called a lunar occultation.

On Friday morning (Dec. 26), skywatchers will see the moon past Spica, with a much narrower crescent as it gets ready to pass in front of the sun.

Dawn on Sunday Dec. 29, 2013. (Image credit: Starry Night Software)

Saturday morning finds the moon almost at Saturn. Observers in the Kerguelen Islands and Antarctica will see the moon pass in front of Saturn.

Finally, on Sunday morning, the moon will be below Saturn and heading for the horizon and new moon on Jan. 1, 2014.

Editor's note: If you take an amazing photo of the moon in its conjunctions or any other night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact SPACE.com managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

This article was provided to SPACE.com bySimulation Curriculum, the leader in space science curriculum solutions and the makers of Starry Night and SkySafari. Follow Starry Night on Twitter @StarryNightEdu. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.

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Geoff Gaherty
Geoff Gaherty

Geoff Gaherty was Space.com's Night Sky columnist and in partnership with Starry Night software and a dedicated amateur astronomer who sought to share the wonders of the night sky with the world. Based in Canada, Geoff studied mathematics and physics at McGill University and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Toronto, all while pursuing a passion for the night sky and serving as an astronomy communicator. He credited a partial solar eclipse observed in 1946 (at age 5) and his 1957 sighting of the Comet Arend-Roland as a teenager for sparking his interest in amateur astronomy. In 2008, Geoff won the Chant Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, an award given to a Canadian amateur astronomer in recognition of their lifetime achievements. Sadly, Geoff passed away July 7, 2016 due to complications from a kidney transplant, but his legacy continues at Starry Night.