Southern California Desert Video Astronomers
To educate & promote astronomy in order to preserve the dark skies of the California Desert and everywhere for future generations.
SCDVA, moving the line for dark skies
May all your dreams and wishes come true this holiday season.
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December - 1st
Conjunction of the moon, Mercury and Saturn happened morning The map below shows the sky facing southeast 45 minutes before sunrise. Picture courtesy of Astro Bob.
The New Moon, great for stargazing.
All through December near the time Venus sets in the West, the giant planet Jupiter rises in the East. Venus is hard to miss in the southwestern sky as it is the 3rd brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the moon with Jupiter coming in 4th brightest. Be sure to step outside shortly after sunset as Venus is at it's greatest illumination. She won't be this bright again until 2021.
Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, rises by 10 p.m. and remains in view all night. It looks so bright because it produces about 30 times more energy than the Sun and because it is less than nine light-years away. Only a few stars are closer.
The earliest sunset of the year at 40 degree N latitude.
Geminid meteor shower. The Moon is in its waxing gibbous phase, so moonlight will hamper the shower until the Moon sets a couple of hours before dawn.
The Full Cold Moon or the Full Long Nights Moon
According to the Farmers Almanac, During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.
Winter Solstice, 12:11 p.m. The Sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator.
Ursid meteor shower. 2013 is expected to be an unfavorable year for this sometimes strong shower.
A Winter holiday favorite is the Northern Cross which is about at Zenith around 8:00pm. The Northern Cross is a group of 5 stars in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan. The northern most star in the cross is Deneb, one of the brightest stars in the summer sky. The southern most star is 3rd magnitude Albireo, a famous double star system. The Northern Cross is much larger, but less prominent than the Southern Cross in Crux.
Last updated December 01, 2013