Astronomy Events in 2017

 

Astronomy Events in December 2017 

The stars are 'back' ! 
If the clouds clear, grab your binoculars and take a good look this month.

December

3      Full Moon
7      Close approach of the Moon and M44
13    Close approach of the Moon and Mars
14    Geminid meteor shower. The Geminids is the king of the meteor showers.
        It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing
        up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris
        left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered
        in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks this year
        on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The waning crescent
        moon will be no match for the Geminids this year. The skies should still be
       dark enough for an excellent show. Best viewing will be from a dark location
       after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can
       appear anywhere in the sky.
14    NGC 1981 is well placed
14    Close approach of the Moon and Jupiter
21    December solstice; The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward
       the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky
       and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. This is the first day
       of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day
       of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.
22    Ursid meteor shower;  The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing
       about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind
       by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790. The shower runs
       annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the the night of the
       21st and morning of the 22nd. The crescent moon will set early in the
       evening leaving dark skies for optimal observing. Best viewing will be
       just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors
       will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere
       in the sky.
26    Mercury at greatest brightness
27    NGC 2232 is well placed
29    NGC 2244 is well placed

For more ideas and information on what to observe this month, please also visit

Jodrell Bank's Night Sky Guide for December 2017