Bright Planets and Meteor Showers December 2023 Guide | Almanac.com

Night Sky for December 2023: Bright Planets and the Geminid Meteor Shower

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Geminid Meteor in the night sky on Mae Suek, Mae Chaem Chiang Mai, Thailand.

On a dark night, free of moonlight, you can easily spot 50 or more meteors per hour during the Geminid Meteor Shower.

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DMstudio House/Shutterstock

December 2023 Skywatching

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What’s up in the December 2023 night sky? The Geminid Meteor Shower is the star of the celestial show throughout this month, but you won’t want to miss the planets Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, as they make their appearance. See Bob Berman’s Sky Watch for all the news.

Sky Watch December 2023

by Bob Berman, as featured in The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Planets on Parade

Venus will be a dazzling morning star during the early days of the month. On December 1, at 6 AM, look for Virgo’s famous blue star, Spica, to the right of Venus. Then, in the morning hours of December 9, a picturesque crescent Moon and Venus meet up and make a striking duo.

Throughout the month, Jupiter will be on display every evening. Learn more about this planetary giant! While Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye for all of December, it will be especially easy to locate on the 21st and 22nd, when the waxing Gibbous Moon will meet up with it.

On December 17, Saturn stands just above the Moon from 5:30 PM onward. Look up to see this striking pairing light up the night sky.

The Geminid Meteor Shower: December 13

Tonight brings the best meteor shower of 2023: the Geminds! Many observers can easily spot 50 or more meteors per hour in perfect moonless, dark conditions. On an optimum night for the Geminids in rural areas, it is possible to see up to 100 meteors per hour. Here is more information about viewing the famous Geminid Meteor Shower.

The First Day of Winter (The Winter Solstice)

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere begins with the solstice on December 21, 2023, at 10:27 P.M. EST. The winter solstice marks the beginning of the astronomical winter season in the Northern Hemisphere and is the day with the fewest hours of daylight in the year. Read more about the winter solstice.

Full moon over winter deep forest covered with snow on winter night with many stars in sky. Landscape of winter wonderland nature concept
Photo: YouraPechkin/Shutterstock

December 26: Full Cold Moon 

December’s Cold Moon reaches peak illumination on December 26, 2023, at 7:33 P.M. EST., on Boxing Day and the First Day of Kwanzaa! This winter moon is named for the frigid conditions of this time of year when cold weather truly begins to grip us. See our December Full Moon Guide for more details

Stars on the Move

Look up and see that the stars are in constant motion as they rotate around the North Star! Learn more about this exciting phenomenon and see a Map of the December Night Sky.

About The Author

Bob Berman

Bob Berman, astronomer editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob is the world’s most widely read astronomer and has written ten popular books. Read More from Bob Berman

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