I really hate insomnia. Overall, I’m getting an adequate amount of sleep; but in any one night I’m getting either two hours or twelve hours, with nothing in between. Luckily, it’s only a matter of time before my wildly oscillating sleep schedule dampens down and I can reliably zonk out more or less through the night again.
One side benefit, though, is that I’m in a good position (i.e., sitting up in bed, reading) to catch an early-morning sliver moon, as I did last Sunday (11 November): a bright sickle of a two-and-a-half-day sliver moon, well to the left of an early-rising Venus. ’Twas an especially welcome sight after those two weeks of unremitting overcast skies culminating in the high winds, lashing rain and general power-outageness of Sandy.
If you happen to be awake during the predawn hour on Tuesday, 11 December, you may be in for a special treat: a sliver moon riding along a string three planets—Saturn, Venus and Mercury (listed from high to low). Viewing from the US West Coast, you’ll see Venus and the moon just about in conjunction (actual time of conjunction 8:08 AM EST, 13:08 GMT). And Mercury will be bright enough (magnitude –0.6) to see even when the rising sun has considerably lightened the sky; brighter than any star in the vicinity, and in fact brighter than any star in the northern sky except Sirius (which will be setting around the same time in the southwest). I may even set my alarm to get up and see all this, provided that the insomnia has backed off my then.