When at its minimum, observers in the Eastern Time zone will find Algol high in the eastern sky. Look in eastern Aquarius, about 0.8 degrees to the east of the medium-bright star Phi Aquarii, or φ Aqr. Degrees (measuring the sky): The sky is 360 degrees all the way around, which means roughly 180 degrees from horizon to horizon. The Geminids meteor shower, usually one of the most spectacular showers of the year, runs from Dec. 4 to Dec. 17 annually. The December solstice happens at 10:02 UTC on December 21, 2020. The night sky is more than just the moon and stars, if you know when and where to look. The bright yellow star Arcturus is putting on a dazzling show in the eastern part of the night sky. Bottom line: The December 2020 solstice comes on December 21 at 4:02 a.m. CST. Winter in the Northern Hemisphere will officially commence on Monday, Dec. 21 at 10:02 GMT (or 5:02 a.m. EST and 2:02 a.m. PST). The trio will make a wonderful photo opportunity when composed with some interesting foreground scenery - until the two close-together planets set at about 7:15 p.m. local time. Winter and summer start at the solstices by tradition, not official decree. Try to view Uranus in mid-to-late evening, when it's more than halfway up the southern sky. After the sun reaches its southernmost point on the sky’s dome on the December solstice, watch as the sun seems to pause for a number of days before it starts its northward trajectory on the sky’s dome once again. On Tuesday, Dec. 15 and the surrounding evenings, Jupiter and Saturn will sit approximately a finger's width to the upper right (or 1.25 degrees to the celestial north) of Messier 75 — allowing all three objects to appear together in the field of view of a backyard telescope at low magnification (red circle). True Geminids will appear to radiate from a position in the sky above the bright stars Castor and Pollux, but the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky. Both the planet and that star will appear together in the field of view of a telescope at low magnification (red circle). Star Gazing. Some look dim because of their age, or because they're far away. Your Sky Tonight. It will reach its maximum elevation, more than halfway up the southern sky, in early evening, and then it will descend as it's carried west by Earth's rotation. The brightest objects get negative numbers. From time to time, try fixing a bit of tape to your window, on which you’ve written the date, to help you mark the sun’s passage. The dimmest object visible in the night sky under perfectly dark conditions is about magnitude 6.5. The evenings surrounding first quarter are the best for seeing the lunar terrain when it is dramatically lit by low-angle sunlight. Using the option on Stellarium to make the star constellations visible, you can see tonight’s sky chart from your location: Can I see the ISS tonight? During December, Venus will continue to shine at a very bright magnitude -3.9 in the southeastern sky before sunrise — but it will be in the final stages of a lengthy pre-dawn apparition. Get breaking space news and the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more! Five hours later, at 12:10 a.m. EST (or 5:10 GMT), Algol will be halfway up the western sky, and will have brightened to its usual magnitude of 2.1. In the southeastern pre-dawn sky on Saturday, Dec. 12, the delicate sliver of the old crescent moon will be positioned several finger widths to the upper right (or 4.5 degrees to the celestial west) of bright Venus. At that time the sun will reach the solstice — its southernmost declination for the year, resulting in the lowest noonday sun, the shortest amount of daylight of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, and the longest amount for the Southern Hemisphere. They make great gifts. In the sky. Brighter stars are magnitude 2 or 1. The 'Star of Bethlehem' – in the sky tonight by Ruth Gledhill A conjunction is approaching between Saturn, top and Jupiter, pictured last night above Las Vegas. True Ursids will appear to radiate from a position in the sky above the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor) near Polaris, but the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky. When the rims of the craters Purbach, la Caille, and Blanchinus are illuminated from a particular angle of sunlight, they form a small, but very obvious X-shape. All about the December solstice, Last full moon of the decade on December 29-30. In both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the December solstice brings the southernmost sunrise and the southernmost sunset of the year. When the waning gibbous moon rises in the eastern sky in late evening on Friday, Dec. 4, it will positioned only two finger widths to the left (or 2 degrees to the celestial north) of the large open star cluster known as the Beehive, or Messier 44, in Cancer. To best see Messier 35's stars at that time, wait until they are higher in mid-evening, and then hide the bright moon beyond the upper right edge of your binoculars (red circle). “Tonight’s Sky” is a video series of constellations you can observe in the night sky. North of the Arctic Circle – or north of 66.5 degrees north latitude – there is no sunrise or sunset today, because the sun stays beneath the horizon all day long. Telescope views of the planet will show Mars' apparent disk diameter shrinking from 15 to 11 arc-seconds. In New York City, the dark leading edge of the moon will cover the star at 10:10 p.m. EST, and the star will emerge from the opposite, lit edge of the moon at 11:17 p.m. EST. The week of moonless evening skies that follow last quarter will be ideal for observing deep sky targets. In the southwestern sky after sunset on Monday, Dec. 21, Jupiter's faster orbital motion will bring it within 0.1 degrees of slower Saturn, causing the two planets to appear, to the unaided eye, as a single bright object. Between Tuesday evening, Dec. 1 and the following morning, observers in most of North America will see the orbital motion (green line) of the waning gibbous moon carry it in front of a large open star cluster known as Messier 35, or the Shoe-Buckle Cluster, in Gemini. The cluster, which contains at least 1000 stars, extends for two full moon diameters across the sky. Night Sky. The Whole Sky images show the entire sky as a big round picture. However, it's unsafe to look at the sun without protective eyewear. This event should be visible anywhere on Earth where the moon is shining in a dark sky during that time window. Sinus Iridum is almost craterless, but hosts a set of northeast-oriented dorsae or "wrinkle ridges" that are revealed under magnification at this phase. Astronomy. Conditions are ideal for the Geminid meteor shower.Here’s more about the stars and planets you can see in the night sky in December 2020. Simply adjust for your difference from the Pacific Time zone. There was a problem. South of the Antarctic Circle – at 66.5 degrees south of the equator – you won’t see a sunrise or sunset either, because the sun stays above the horizon all day. In the Northern Hemisphere, the southernmost sunrise and sunset usher in the year’s shortest day and the longest night. Yes. The areas of partial eclipse encompass about 2/3 of South America and much of the oceans to either side. At the same time, Mars will be traveling eastward across the V-shaped constellation of Pisces until early January. Don't wait until Dec. 21 to view this spectacular conjunction. To best see the cluster's stars, hide the bright moon just outside the left edge of your binoculars' field of view. View Comments. The reason they don’t twinkle is that they each appear as very small discs in the sky, whereas the stars are merely tiny points of light. What is the bright star in the sky? Space is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Featured above in true color are the 25 brightest stars in the night sky, currently as seen by humans, coupled with their IAU-recognized names. The shower will peak during the early hours of Tuesday, Dec. 22, when seeing 5 to 10 meteors per hour is possible under dark skies. Visit our corporate site. Download our star maps to help you find your way around the sky. For several hours following sunrise, sharp eyes can look for Venus' bright point of light shining a short distance to the left of the moon in daylight. Image above: “First light of winter,” wrote Karl Diefenderfer in Yardley, Pennsylvania. EarthSky lunar calendars are cool! The X is predicted to become apparent after about 7 p.m. PST on Monday, Dec. 21, peak at about 11 p.m. PST, and then continue until about 1 a.m. When is the moment of solstice for your location? The best time to watch for Geminids will be from full darkness on Sunday until dawn on Monday morning. Some star names have interesting meanings, including Sirius ("the scorcher" in Latin), Vega ("falling" in Arabic), and Antares ("rival to Mars" in Greek). Hold the map over your head with “North” on the map facing the direction north. Algol, also designated Beta Persei, is among the most accessible variable stars for skywatchers. The prominent round crater Werner sits to its lower right. By midnight, we mean the middle of the night, or midway between sunset and sunrise. The December full moon, traditionally known as the Oak Moon, Cold Moon, and Long Nights Moon, always shines in or near the stars of Gemini. Last quarter moons are positioned ahead of the Earth in our trip around the sun. Look out for a big orangey-white circle in the sky. The North Star? Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. In 1610, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope to the night sky, discovering the four moons… Day and night sides of Earth at the instant of the December 2020 solstice (December 21, 2020, at 10:02 UTC). The two planets haven't been as close together since Galileo was using his spyglass in 1623 — and they won't meet so closely again until 2080. Dec. 21 to view this spectacular conjunction. objects into view first the... 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