What's in the Sky? Top Astronomy Events of December 2022
12/8 - Full Moon
The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be fully illuminated. The full moon was known as by early Native American tribes as the Cold Moon because this is the time of year when the cold winter air settles in and the nights become long and dark.
12/8 – Mars at Opposition
The red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long (clear skies permitting). This will be the best time to view/photograph Mars. We recommend using a medium-sized telescope if you wish to observe some of the darker details on the planet’s surface.
12/13-12/14 – Geminids Meteor Shower
This shower is known as the king of meteor showers. It is considered to be one of the best showers, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. This shower is caused by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon (discovered circa 1982). The shower runs every year from December 7th-17th, with the peak landing on the night of the 13th and the morning of the 14th. This shower takes place a few days after a full Moon, so minor lunar interference is to be expected, but is only anticipated to block out the fainter meteors. The best viewing of this show will be from a dark location after midnight.
12/21 – December Solstice
The South Pole of the Earth will be tilted toward the Sun, causing it to reach its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This will mark the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.
12/21 – Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation
The planet Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation of 20.1 degrees from the Sun. This will be the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. The planet is best to observe low in the western sky just after sunset
12/21-12/22 – Ursids Meteor Shower
This is a minor meteor shower that produces 5-10 meteors per hour at its peak. Caused by dust grains left behind by the Tuttle comet (discovered circa 1790), the peak of this shower lands shortly before a new moon, meaning there will be very little lunar interference.
12/23 – New Moon
The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the sun and it will not be visible on this night. This will be the best night to observe fainter objects in the sky, as there will be no lunar interference!
That concludes the top astronomy events of September 2022! What did we miss? Which event are you looking forward to the most? Is there anything you would like to add? Let us know in the comments below orContact Us to speak with an expert.
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Overview of the Top 2022 Astronomy Events
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