Stargazing for December 2019

Planet Pairing, Shooting Stars, and the Solstice!

By Catherine Boeckmann
December 2, 2019
Moon and Girl

Are you a stargazer? Here are a few fun sights to see in December’s night sky from a planet pairing to shooting stars across the night sky!

Two Planets Pair Up

Planet Venus meets planet Saturn on December 10 and December 11.  They will appear as stars but we all know that they are really planets!

How to spot them? Right after the Sun sets, turn your body towards the west (where the sun set).  Look very low near the horizon for the brightest “stars” in the night sky. 

Bright Venus and the Ringed Planet will be very very close to each other!

Venus Shines Bright

Every night, watch as the brightest object (besides the Moon) gets higher and higher in the night sky.  Venus will rise in the west to reign as the beautiful “evening star.”

There will be almost no other visible planets in the sky at this time of year so you should have no trouble spotting our neighboring planet. 

Geminid Meteor Shower

The most famous meteor shower of the year is the Geminids. We call them “shooting stars” as they streak across the night sky! In 2019, you’ll see the most shooting stars on the night of Friday, December 13.

One great thing about the Geminids is that they can be seen all night long, starting around 9 P.M. This year, you may not see quite as many because it’s a full Moon which makes it too bright to see other objects.

But take a look if you live in a place without city lights because there are still 75 meteors every hour! The best way to see a shooting star is to face away from the Moon and look towards the darkest area of the night sky.

The Full Moon

In December 2019, the full Moon is the night of Wednesday, December 11. Native America tribes called the December Moon the Full Cold Moon. Can you guess why? Brrrr! 

The Winter Solstice

Winter begins on December 21! You can’t “see” the solstice but it is an astronomy event.  This is the shortest day and the longest night! That means the solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight and the most hours of nighttime. After the 21st, we’ll see more of the Sun again!