Current Night Sky: December 2019

The December Solstice occurs at 11:19 pm EST on December 21. The Sun reaches its southernmost celestial latitude of the year; this day brings the year's shortest period of daylight 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.

There is an annular (also known as a "ring of fire") eclipse of the Sun on December 26, visible inside a narrow track that begins in Saudi Arabia and runs through the United Arab Emirates and Oman, southern India and Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, to end in the western Pacific.

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

There are no comets brighter than magnitude 8 currently visible.

  • The Geminid meteor shower, often the most prolific of the year, peaks on December 14. This year, though, the Full Moon occurs two days earlier; by the 14th, in fact, the waning gibbous Moon lies in Gemini itself, not far from the meteors' radiant. The number of meteors visible will be drastically reduced from its typical 120 meteors per hour.
  • December's second meteor shower, the Ursids, peaks on the 22nd/23rd. Typically, the rate for this shower is about 10 meteors per hour.
Phases of the Moon: 
First Quarter Moon December 4 1:58 am EST
Full Moon December 12 12:12 am EST
Last Quarter Moon December 18 11:57 pm EST
New Moon December 26 12:13 am 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.