What to See in the Night Sky
Welcome to the December 2017 Sky Watch! See what to look for in the night sky tonight, including bright planets, the full Moon, and more celestial highlights!
Sky Watch December 2017
by Bob Berman, as featured in The 2018 Old Farmer’s Almanac
(Note: Times listed below are ET.)
What’s in December’s night sky? Here are the highlights:
- A strange configuration rules the sky after Saturn and Mercury vanish on the 7th. Not a single naked-eye planet can be seen virtually all night, from nightfall until Mars and Jupiter finally rise before dawn.
- But 2017’s best meteor shower, the Geminids, delivers a superb show on the 13th, starting at around 9:00 p.m. A thin crescent Moon will not interfere. See our Geminid Meteor Shower page for all the details.
- Jupiter has a close meeting with the Moon on the 14th.
- The year’s most distant Moon is the new Moon on the 18th.
- Winter arrives with the solstice on the 21st at 11:28 a.m. See our Winter Solstice page for more information.
- At month’s end, Jupiter rises 3 hours before the Sun. Now in Libra, Jove approaches Mars and will very closely meet the Red Planet on January 6 and 7.
Click here for a free sky map to navigate December’s night sky.