This month we can enjoy the active Geminid Meteor Shower, which will peak on December 13-14. Viewing conditions should be favorable with the Moon in its First Quarter and setting several hours before dawn. This shower results from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon (view orbit diagram), which was discovered in 1983. The Geminids appear to be getting more intense every year, and we might be in for quite a treat on December 14, 2093 when 3200 Phaethon passes within 0.0198 Au.

Another December experience will be a total eclipse of the Moon on December 21 starting at 7:41 UT (1:41 am CST). Lasting for about an hour, the Moon will appear red-orange from the Earth’s shadow at totality, and will be visible to everyone in North America.

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December 2010 Northern Hemisphere Sky Map
from SkyMaps.com

 

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Last updated May 20, 2018