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

 

 

New Moon

Waxing Crescent

First Quarter

Waxing Gibbous

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