December Astronomy

The waxing Crescent Moon makes a tour of the evening planets.

The waxing Crescent Moon makes a tour of the evening planets.

November 29, 2021| Categories: Fairbanks Museum, Skywatch Almanac Astronomy, StarGazing

The longest nights of the year welcome the return of Orion, rising earlier each evening, and dominating the eastern sky, often identified by his line of three “belt” stars. Extending this line to the upper right leads to the red star Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the Bull, while looking to the lower left, the brilliant star Sirius is rising. The Milky Way pivots, and now arches from west to east across the top of the sky. Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus form an extended line across the southwest in the evenings, Venus getting much closer to the horizon by month’s end. Mars returns to the morning skies to close out the year, joined by the Crescent Moon and the red star Antares, while Mercury sneaks into the evening twilight.

Learn about tonight’s celestial happenings with the Eye on the Night Sky!

Sun & Moon

Sunrise December 1 7:04 AM EST
Sunset December 1 4:10 PM EST Length of Day 9h 6m
Sunrise December 31 7:24 AM EST
Sunset December 31 4:18 PM EST Length of Day 8h 54m
New Moon on the 4th
First Quarter Moon on the 10th
Full “Cold” Moon on the 18th
Last Quarter Moon on the 26th

Tags: astronomy, Fairbanks Museum, Mark Breen Skywatch