Stargazing at December 2018


Photo by Wang Letian from apod.nasa.gov page. This single frame captured almost full moon, Venus and Jupiter (upper left).

 

 

Moon

 

Waning Crescent

  • 3rd December
    • Moon close Venus, Spica

 

 

New Moon

  • 7th December
    • New Moon
    • Mercury, Jupiter
    • Mars close to Neptune 0.0°N
      • 14:39 UT
      • 91°E
Waxing Crescent

  • 8th December
    • Moon close to Saturn & Neptune
  • 9th December
    • Moon near Saturn
  • 12th December
First Quarter

  • 14th December
    • Moon is near Neptune & Mars
  • 15th December
    • Mercury greatest western elongation
      • 11:15 UT
      • 22°W
  • 16th December
Waxing Gibbous

  • 18th December
    • Moon is south of Uranus
  • 20th December
    • Moon is south of Pleiades
Full Moon

  • 21th December
    • Mercury close to Jupiter
      • 14:39 UT
      • 91°N
    • Winter Solstice
Waxing Gibbous

  • 23th December
  • 25th December
    • Moon close to Praesepe
  • 26th December
    • Moon close to Regulus
Last Quarter

  • 28th December

 

 

 

46P/Wirtanen Comet

 

  • High enough over horizon: 1st December
  • Highest over horizon: after dark to midnight
  • Closest to Earth: 16 December 2018
    • Between Pleiades & Hyades clusters in Taurus
    • Distance at closest: 7 220 000 miles (0.078 AU)
    • Expected apparent magnitude: +3

 

At closest approach to Earth this comet should become naked-eye object in the sky with expected apparent magnitude of up-to +3. Comet will be tracking through Eridanus, Taurus and Auriga before getting to faint.




 

 

Meteor Showers for December

Meteorite falling over Mt. Balang, China – Dec., 17th 2014 – © Alvin Wu

 

 

Andromedids

  • Occurrence window: 25th September to 6th December
  • Constellation: Andromeda
  • Parent body: Biela’s Comet
  • Approximate velocity: 19 km/s
  • Zenithal hourly rate: 3

 

Monocerotids

  • Peak window: 9th December
  • Zenithal hourly rate: 2

 

Sigma Hydrids

  • Peak window: 6th and 18th December
  • Occurrence window: 24th November to mid December
  • Constellation: Hydra
  • Approximate velocity: 61 km/s
  • Zenithal hourly rate: 3 – 5

 

Geminids

  • Occurrence window: 4th December to 17th December
  • Peak window: 13th to 14th December
  • Constellation: Gemini
  • Parent body: 3200 Phaethon Asteroid
  • Approximate velocity: 35 km/s
  • Zenithal hourly rate: 120

 

Leonis Minorids

  • Occurrence window: 6th December to 18th January
  • Peak window: 20th December
  • Constellation: Leo Minor
  • Parent body: C/1739 K1 Comet
  • Zenithal hourly rate: 5

 

Ursids

  • Occurrence window: 17th December to 26th December
  • Peak window: 22nd December
  • Constellation: Ursa Minor
  • Parent body: 8P/Tuttle Comet
  • Approximate velocity: 33 km/s
  • Zenithal hourly rate: 10

 

Quadrantids

  • Occurrence window: 28th December to 12th January
  • Peak window: 3rd January
  • Constellation: Boötes
  • Parent body: 2003 EH1 Asteroid
  • Approximate velocity: 41 km/s
  • Zenithal hourly rate: 120

 

Coma Berenicids

  • Occurrence window: 24th December to 3rd January
  • Peak window: 31st December
  • Constellation: Coma Berenices
  • Approximate velocity: 65 km/s
  • Zenithal hourly rate: 3