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December Programs

Autumn Constellations — The mythology and science behind star patterns in the Fall sky above Lincoln. [Plays when the sky is clear and there is no moon.] Run time: approximately 20 minutes.

Earth’s Nearest Neighbor — A program about the moon, runs only on evenings when the moon is visible. Run time: 21 minutes.

Explore Mars 2018 — A new program on the Red Planet, which is now prominent in our evening sky, and closer to Earth than it has been in 15 years. Run time: 23 minutes.

Your Window on the Universe

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    Our Telescopes

    Featuring views of the night skies through our 3 Telescopes!

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    Presentations & Programs

    Astronomy Presentations every Saturday Night!

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    It's all FREE

    There is NO ADMISSION CHARGE

HOURS

We’re open every Saturday year-round.

Hyde may be closed if Saturday falls on or very near a major holiday. If in doubt call first: (402) 441-7094.

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    March 15-August 31

    Sundown to 11 PM

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    September 1-30

    8 PM to 11 PM

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    October 1-March 14

    7 PM to 10 PM

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    December 22 and 29

    CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS

What we’re looking at through the observatory’s telescopes in December:

Solar System Objects

Comet 46P/Wertanen is at about magnitude 3.5 in the southern sky below the Pleiades star cluster. On the 15th, it will be visible in the Hyde telescopes. Sky contrast will be limited by a nearby First Quarter moon, so this diffuse object will appear somewhat less bright than its magnitude suggests. Mars is bright orange in the southwest sky all month. We are looking at it through the Earth’s unstable atmosphere, causing a blurry squirmy image. At the same time, the distance between Earth and Mars is increasing as the Earth speeds away from the Red Planet in its orbit. By the end of December, Mars will be 115 million miles away from us, more than 3 times farther away than it was during its closest approach last July. Mars is just a few degrees away from Neptune on December 7. Aside from Saturn, which is buried too close to the sun for our telescopes to pick up, Mars and Neptune are the only planets in the evening sky.

The Moon

On Saturday public nights this month: December 1 — Approaching New Moon in the morning sky, it is not visible during observatory hours; December 8 — the moon is a one day-old crescent that sets a few minutes after sunset, before the Observatory opens; December 15 — First Quarter, the terminator (boundary between light and dark) will provide excellent contrast for surface features — the best night in December to see the moon through our telescopes; December 22 and 29, no lunar viewing at the Observatory, because it will be closed for the holidays.

Deep Sky Objects

Galaxies, nebulae, globular star clusters and other objects will be targets for the Hyde telescopes throughout the month, depending upon sky conditions (best seen on December 1 and 8, when the moon will not be blotting out faint objects in the sky). High In the East when the sky has darkened after sunset, look for a prominent large square made up of 4 stars. They are not the brightest stars in the sky right now, but they are in a relatively uncluttered area, and they make up the “Square of Pegasus”, part of the constellation the Winged Horse. (It takes some imagination to see a horse!) Pegasus heralds full-on astronomical Autumn which officially lasts until Winter Solstice, on December 22.

Check out our new Celestron 14″ Telescope

Stop by Hyde Observatory and See the Universe!