Christmas Day 2015


This is the sky as seen from Madrid (latitude 40N) at 07:30 local time on December 25th 2015.



In 2015 there are no less than three bright planets in the south east. Venus and Saturn have changed places with Venus 19 degrees high and magnitude –4.1 in Libra.


Much lower is Saturn. It is 6.5 degrees high in Ophiuchus and, with its rings now wide open, is magnitude 0.5 and unmistakable if you have a clear horizon in the south east.


Alongside Spica is Mars. The contrast of colours, Spica pure white (although some will say that it has a hint of blue) and the strong orange hue of Mars, which is magnitude 1.3 and thus significantly fainter. The three planets and Spica are strung across some 30 degrees of sky and are a magnificent sight.