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Stars, Mars and Other Sights from Afar

Look up, the stars might be winking at you. Here are some December stargazing tips.

This is the time of year when many people's heads tilt to the night sky.

Even among infrequent stargazers there are many who look up when they think of the Star of Bethlehem, as described in the Bible's nativity story. 

Light in general, Christmas candle light and the Festival of Lights, at Hanukkah, have people thinking about brightness.

Local astronomer James Keating, who designed the sun circle at Preston Beach, has a few recommendations for people surveying the sky in the early morning hours.

James says look southeast about 30 minutes before sunrise to see Mercury, Venus and Saturn.

"Venus being the brightest in the middle, Saturn up to the right and Mercury down to the left of Venus," he said. "If you are not an earlier riser, you can see Jupiter rise in the East as the sun sets. Also, about one hour after sunset in the southwest is Mars."

For stargazing basics check out the Sky and Telescope website.

Or just look up. You never know what you'll see.

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