Posted by Adonai on December 01, 2013 in categories Editors' picks, Night Sky
- December 3 - New Moon - From about 00:22 UTC the Moon will not be visible from Earth as it will be directly between the Earth and the Sun. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
- December 4 - Moon is at its perihelion. Young moon and Venus adorn evening twilight on December.
- December 6 - Venus at its brightest. December is a great month to view the changes in apparent diameter and phases of Venus. On December 6 planet Venus will be at its brightest. (Venus on December 6, Venus through 2013)
- December 7/9 - Puppid–Velid meteor shower - Some shooting stars from this source will be visible each night from November 17 to January, but the best show will be expected on or around December 9, 2013. (AMS mentions near December 7 as the peak date this year). The maximum number of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location is around 15 per hour (ZHR). The Moon will be 6 days old at the time of peak activity, and so will present minimal interference. Observers located in the Southern Hemisphere have an advantage viewing this shower as the radiant will rise higher into their sky allowing more activity to be seen. Since the radiant lies low in the south for most northern hemisphere observers, meteors seen from north of the equator tend to be long in length and long-lasting. At 40 km/sec. the Puppid-Velids produce meteors of average velocity. (InTheSky)
- December 13, 14 - Geminids meteor shower - This is usually the strongest meteor shower of the year that provides good activity prior to midnight as the constellation of Gemini is well placed from 22:00 onward. The Geminids are often bright and intensely colored. Due to their medium-slow velocity, persistent trains are not usually seen. These meteors are also seen in the southern hemisphere, but only during the middle of the night and at a reduced rate.The Geminids is the king of the meteor showers. It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. The waxing gibbous moon will block out some of the meteors this year, but it should still be a good show. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky. (SeaSky, AMS). Read more @ EarthSky
- December 16 - Moon is at aphelion.
- December 17 - Full Moon - The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth at 09:28 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Cold Moon because this is the time of year when the cold winter air settles in and the nights become long and dark. This moon has also been known as the Moon Before Yule and the Full Long Nights Moon. (SeaSky). (Smallest full moon of 2013)
- December 21 - Happy December Solstice
- This year, the December solstice occurs at 17:11 UTC on December 21, 2013. The South Pole of the Earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere. (SeaSky) Read more @ EarthSky
- December 21, 22 - Ursids Meteor Shower - The Ursids are often neglected due to the fact it peaks just before Christmas and the rates are much less than the Geminds, which peaks just a week before the Ursids. This year the second quarter moon will be bright enough to hide all but the brightest meteors, but you might still be able to catch a few good ones. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere in the sky. The shower runs annually from December 17-25 and observers will normally see 5-10 Ursids per hour during the late morning hours on the date of maximum activity. This shower is strictly a northern hemisphere event as the radiant fails to clear the horizon or does so simultaneously with the start of morning twilight as seen from the southern tropics. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. (AMS, SeaSky)
- December 26 - If there is anything left from Comet ISON it will be closest to Earth in its orbit on December 26.
Thanks to: http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com