Final month on Thanksgiving day comet ISON made a detailed method to the Solar and sadly disintegrated within the course of. It’s doable that small items of the comet survived this encounter and in that case, they may cross close to the Earth by the top of this month. Under is a video from NASA exhibiting what occurred to the comet:
Moreover we’ll witness two meteor showers this month in addition to the December solstice on the 21st.
The height of the Geminids meteor bathe will happen on the evening of December 13 and 14. The Geminids is taken into account by many to be one of the best meteor bathe, producing as much as 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It originates from particles left behind by an asteroid generally known as 3200 Phaethon, which was found in 1982. Some meteors could also be seen from December 7 to 17. The waxing gibbous moon will block out a few of the meteors this yr, however the Geminids are so vibrant and quite a few that it shouldn’t trigger any issues, particularly if viewing from a darkish location removed from metropolis lights. Meteors will seem to radiate from the constellation Gemini, however can seem wherever within the sky.
Gemini constellation map. Picture credit score: IAU and Sky & Telescope journal.
Lastly on the evening of December 21 and 22 the Ursids meteor bathe will peak. It’s a minor meteor bathe producing solely about 5-10 meteors per hour. It originates from mud grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first found in 1790. Sadly the second quarter moon will likely be vibrant sufficient to cover all however the brightest meteors. Meteors will seem to radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, however can seem wherever within the sky.
Ursa Minor constellation map. Picture credit score: IAU and Sky & Telescope journal.
As , the moon has a huge impact on the visibility of celestial our bodies within the evening sky. So listed below are the moon’s phases for this month:
Positions of the planets this month
Mercury: The closest planet to the Solar will be seen at daybreak and nightfall travelling throughout the constellation of Scorpius and Ophiuchus. This planet, being the closest to the Solar, will seem to maneuver rapidly within the evening sky and its place will change within the following weeks.
Venus: The sister planet will be seen between the constellations of Sagittarius and Capricornus. Identical to Mercury, Venus can solely be seen at daybreak and nightfall.
Mars: The pink aircraftt will be seen within the constellation of Virgo.
Jupiter: The gasoline large is seen within the constellation of Gemini. Jupiter can simply be noticed with the bare eye, even in extremely illuminated cities.
Saturn: The ringed large will be seen with the bare eye between the constellations of Virgo and Libra.
Uranus: The gasoline large will be seen between the constellations of Pisces and Cetus with the usage of a telescope.
Neptune: The blue large requires a telescope pointed within the constellation of Aquarius to be able to be seen.
Main astronomical occasions subsequent month
- January 2, 3 – Quadrantids Meteor Bathe.
- January 5 – Jupiter at Opposition.