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Skywatch: Ring in the New Year this week

New Year's Eve is this week if you use the Julian Calendar.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first quarter moon arrives on Sunday afternoon. It’ll officially reach that phase at 1:11 p.m. Moonset is after midnight so look for the half moon on Sunday evening.

Mercury will reach a high point this week as well, literally. The planet will reach its highest point in the sky for the month Tuesday evening. 

Look for the speedy planet in the southwestern sky in the evening. Just above and right of it will be Saturn and Jupiter. Jupiter will be shining brightly.

If you’re looking for a reason to throw a party why not celebrate on New Year’s Eve? You might be thinking, “But that’s about a year away.” 

It is if you focus on the Gregorian calendar. Julius Caesar replaced the Roman calendar with the Julian calendar about 50 B.C. 

With the Julian calendar, a year is slightly longer than it really is. Over time this adds up and the seasons would shift. 

Right now the Julian and the Gregorian calendar, which we use nowadays, are about 13 days apart. That disconnect will grow to 14 days by the end of the century. 

Happy New Year and happy hunting!