December Night Skies

Celestial Events for December by Jeff Hoffmeister

3rd : New Moon. Solar Eclipse but not for us. Visible in Antarctica.
4th : Venus at its brightest at magnitude -4.9 and 40 degrees East of the Sun.
6th 5pm: A waxing crescent Moon passes just south of Venus. If it’s clear it should be quite a sight.
7th 6pm: A near 1st Quarter Moon passes south of Saturn. Saturn’s ring tilt to the Earth is currently 18.5
degrees. By 2025 it will be edge on…very difficult to observe.
8th 10pm: The Moon passes south of Jupiter.
14th : Geminid Meteor Shower peaks. It usually produces between 40-90 meteors per hour. They are
also one of the slowest at 22mps compared with the Leonids at a whopping 44mps. The source of the
shower is from Asteroid Phaethon.
21st 7:59am: Winter Solstice North of the Equator-Summer Solstice south of the Equator. At this point
the Earth resides at a Heliocentric Longitude (HL) of 90 degrees in its orbital position in the solar
system. The Earth will reach its point of 180 degrees HL on the Vernal Equinox.
22 nd : The Ursid Meteor Shower peaks. 10-15 per hour. Source of this shower is the Comet Tuttle.
During Mid December nights, the Zodiacal Constellations will range from Capricornus in the evening to
Virgo in the early morning.

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