What’s Up in the December Sky

Sky Safari star map annotated with Annotable by Peter Tagatac.

December’s Evening Planets

Mars will be up until around 11 PM, moving between Aquarius the Water Bearer and Pisces the Fish. Saturn and will be in Sagittarius the Archer until 6 PM in the first half of the month. Uranus will be in Pisces the Fish and Neptune in Aquarius the Water Bearer.

December’s Evening Stars

Spot the Summer Triangle of Vega in Lyra the Harp; Deneb in Cygnus the Swan; and Altair in Aquila the Eagle, until 8 PM, setting earlier every night. The Winter Triangle of Sirius (the brightest star viewed from Earth) in Canis Major the Great Dog; Betel-geuse in Orion the Hunter; and Procyon in Canis Minor the Small Dog, will be up as of 9 PM. Find Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins, Rigel in Orion, Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull, and bright Capella in Auriga the Charioteer. See the stars of constellations Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cepheus, Draco, Aries, Taurus, Pegasus, and Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (the Big and Little Dippers).

December’s Morning Planets

Bright Venus will be up as of 4 AM, moving between Virgo the Maiden and Libra the Scales through the month of December. Mercury will be up around 6 AM moving between Libra the Scales and Ophiuchus the Serpent-bearer. Jupiter will be in Scorpius the Scorpion for about one hour before sunrise in the second half of December. Uranus will be in Pisces until 4 AM, setting earlier each night until 2 AM by the end of the month.

December’s Morning Stars

The Winter Triangle of Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon will be up until morning. Find Capella in Auriga, Arcturus in Boötes the Herdsman, Spica in Virgo, and Aldebaran in Taurus until the morning. See the stars of Leo, Gemini, Orion, Hydra, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Perseus, and Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (the Big and Little Dippers).

December Skylights

  • Dec   3  Moon is 3° north of Venus (dawn)
  • Dec   7  New Moon at 2:20 AM
  • Dec   8  Moon is 1° north of Saturn (Midnight)
  • Dec 12  Moon at apogee (251,800 miles away)
  • Dec 13  Geminid Meteor Shower peaks- predawn
  • Dec 14  Mars is 4° north of the Moon (Midnight)
  • Dec 15  First Quarter Moon at 6:50 AM
  • Dec 21  Winter solstice at 5:25 PM
  • Dec 22  Full Moon at 12:50 PM
  • Dec 24  Moon at perigee (224,400 miles away)
  • Dec 29  Last quarter moon at 4:35 AM
  • Dec 30  Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury align (dawn)

Times given in EDT