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Must-See Astronomy Calendar Events for the December 2023 Night Sky

3 months ago
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Frigid but clear, December nights brim with cosmic wonders. Meteor showers paint flashy streaks as the Geminids and Ursids dance through darkness. Planets Venus and Neptune approach each other for a close visual treat while the moon occults Mars and Saturn.

The solstice signals shorter days ahead as the Andromeda Galaxy makes a fine sight. For the intrepid astronomer braving cold, long nights, December promises abundant rewards: meteor storms, planetary alignments, the turn of seasons and drapes of stars in neighboring galaxies.

December 2 – Apex of the Phoenicid Meteor Display

While December heralds two more prolific meteor showers—the Geminids and Ursids—an opening astronomical act occurred on the second: the peak of the Phoenicid meteors. Though relatively unimpressive, with just a few streaks per hour, this shower inaugurated December as a month of cosmic light shows.

For most North American observers, the Phoenicid radiant lurks below the horizon, better visible from more equatorial latitudes. So, for those in Central/South America, Southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania, take advantage of your geography and look south after dusk on the second, perhaps catching a meteor or two to commence the month with celestial flair.


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