Here’s a quick look at what’s going on in the sky during the month of December, 2013:
December 2 — New Moon, 7:22 p.m. The Moon is not illuminated by direct sunlight.
December 4 — Moon at perigee, 5:05 a.m. (its closest point to the Earth).
December 6 — Venus at greatest illumination. Our nearest neighbor wont be this bright again until 2021.
December 7 — Earliest sunset of the year at 40° N latitude.
December 9 — First Quarter Moon, 10:12 a.m. One-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing.
December 13 — Geminid meteor shower. 2013 is expected to be an unfavorable year for this major shower.
December 17 — Full Cold Moon, 8:48 a.m. The visible Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Though the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered “full” for the entire day of the event, and appears full for three days.
December 19 — Moon at apogee, 7:00 p.m. (its farthest point from the Earth).
December 21 — Winter Solstice, 12:11 p.m. The Sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator.
December 22 — Ursid meteor shower. 2013 is expected to be an unfavorable year for this sometimes strong shower.
December 25— Last Quarter Moon, 8:48 a.m. One-half of the Moon appears illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing.