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Home / Explore / Astronomy Info & Events: December

Astronomy Info & Events: December

Moon Phases

December 3 First Quarter Moon

December 11 Full Moon (The Cold Moon)

December 18 Last Quarter Moon

December 25 New Moon

Special Events

International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes

During the month of December there will be some favourable passes of the ISS as seen from Edmonton. From December 1 to December 11, the ISS will be visible in our early evening period. From December 20 onwards, visible ISS passes switch into our early morning sky before sunrise. Check the website http://www.heavens-above.com for exact viewing times for your location.

50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing

We continue to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landings this month. The Moon will be well placed for early evening viewing from December 1 to December 14. Join us at the RASC Observatory at TWOSE to view the Moon during weekends in early December. Please check the TELUS World of Science – Edmonton’s website for all details on events for this special celebration and for operating times of the RASC Observatory.

December 9 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Edmonton Centre) Meeting Tonight.

7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in the Zeidler Dome at the TELUS World of Science-Edmonton. Free event, all invited!

December 11 Conjunction of the planets Venus and Saturn in the southwest sky after sunset.

December 13/14 Geminid meteor shower peaks

December 21 Winter solstice occurs at precisely 9:19 pm MST

December 25 Merry Christmas!

December 26 Annular solar eclipse visible from Southeast Asia

December 31 New Year’s Eve

The Visible Planets

Mercury is visible low in the southeastern sky before sunrise from the start of the month until it slowly disappears into the glare of the rising Sun about mid-month. It is much brighter than the planet Mars, which can be seen above and to the south of Mercury during the predawn hours.

Venus shines brightly in the southwestern sky after sunset, and can be seen gaining elevation from day to day during the month. A nice conjunction between Venus and Saturn can been seen in the southwestern sky after sunset on December 11 and the waxing crescent Moon passes just below Venus after sunset on December 28.

Mars appears as a faint reddish second magnitude object low in the southeastern sky before sunrise this month and is found in the constellation of Libra, the scales, all month long. The very slim waning crescent Moon can be seen near Mars on the mornings of December 22 and 23.

Jupiter can be seen sinking lower and lower toward the southwestern horizon after sunset, day to day, early in the month until it finally gets lost in the glare of the setting Sun around the middle of the month. Jupiter will be in conjunction with the Sun on December 27.

Saturn is visible with some difficulty low along the southwestern horizon at sunset early in the month, disappearing in the glare of the setting Sun by the end of the month. Saturn continues to be located in the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer, and is seen just above the handle of the asterism of the “teapot”. On December 11 look for Saturn above and to the right of the much brighter planet Venus.