Current Night Sky: December 2014

The December Solstice occurs at 6:03 pm EST on December 21. The Sun reaches its southernmost celestial latitude of the year; this day brings the shortest period of daylight of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. By convention, winter officially begins in the North and summer begins in the South.

The Moon & Planets: 
sky chart
sky chart
sky chart
sky chart
Evening Planets (after sunset): 
  • Mercury, in SW
  • Venus, in SW
  • Mars, in SW
  • Neptune, in S
  • Uranus, in SE
Morning Planets (before sunrise): 
  • Jupiter, in SW
  • Saturn, in SE
Comets: 

A new Comet Lovejoy, designated C/2014 Q2, may brighten to 5th magnitude from late December through much of January as it climbs into excellent viewing position for the Northern Hemisphere, high in the dark winter night. Read more...

Meteors: 

The Geminid meteor shower peaks on the evening of the 13-14th. This is one of the few showers that is very active before midnight, so the Last Quarter Moon should not interfere. It's also an active shower; last year as many as 100 meteors per hour were visible under ideal conditions.

The Ursid meteors peak on the 22nd. Though this shower is much less active than the Geminids, it, too, occurs under favorable moonlight conditions.

Phases of the Moon: 
Full Moon December 6 7:27 am EST
Last Quarter Moon December 14 7:51 am EST
New Moon December 21 8:36 pm EST
First Quarter Moon December 28 1:31 pm EST

Text, graphics, and animations by John Sheff. Graphics courtesy of Starry Night(©) Pro Plus 7 / Imaginova(©) Corp. Starry Night images are used with permission from Imaginova Corp. Starry Night is a registered trademark of Imaginova Corp. Star charts generated by Starry Night Pro Plus 7 © Imaginova Corp. All rights reserved. www.StarryNight.com