What’s Up in the Sky: December 2023

What’s Up in the Sky in December?

AAA Observers’ December Guide

By Tony Faddoul

December’s Evening Planets:  Jupiter will be in Aries the Ram. Saturn will be seen in Aquarius the Water-bearer until 11 PM and setting earlier every night until 9 PM by the end of the month. Uranus will be in Aries the Ram and Neptune in Pisces the Fish.  

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 9 PM, setting earlier every night.  The Winter Triangle of Sirius (the brightest star viewed from Earth) in Canis Major the Great Dog; Betelgeuse 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: Find bright Venus moving between Virgo the maiden and Libra the Scales during December as of 4 AM.  Uranus will be in Aries the Ram monster until 5 AM, setting earlier each night until 3 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, Hercules, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Perseus, and Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (the Big and Little Dippers).

December Skylights

Dec   4 Moon at apogee (251,200 miles away)

Dec   5 Last quarter Moon at 12:50 AM

Dec 12 New Moon at 6:30 PM

Dec 14 Geminids Meteor Shower peaks- predawn

Dec 16 Moon at perigee closest to Earth in 2021.  (It is 228,600 miles away.)

Dec 19 First quarter Moon at 1:40 PM

Dec 21 Winter solstice

Dec 22 Jupiter, Moon, and Saturn line up at sunset

Dec 26 Full Moon at 7:30 PM