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What We’re Watching: December 2021

Grab your loved ones and a telescope, and spend your holidays at your favorite viewing spot! In regards to major astronomy events, the best were saved for last! Enjoy one of the largest meteor showers of the year as well as excellent views facilitated by the cold, crisp winter air.

December 4: New Moon

The moon will not be visible on this night, but without the moonlight disruption, you can get some of the best views of faint, faraway galaxies.
This night will also be an excellent time to observe Venus and Saturn in the early evening, and Uranus later at night

December 13-14: Geminids Meteor Shower

The King Of All Meteor Showers. The Geminids Meteor Shower will produce approximately 120 bright, multicolored meteors per hour at its peak the late night of the 13th/ early morning of the 14th.
The waxing moon will prevent you from seeing some of the fainter meteors, but given the sheer number of them, you can still expect to have a superb show. For best views, wait for the moon to set around 3 am local time. At this point, the Gemini constellation will also stand nearly directly overhead and will provide bright meteors and even a few spectacular fireballs. Meteors will originate from the constellation Gemini but can appear anywhere in the night sky.

December 19: Full Moon

The moon will be fully illuminated on the night of the 19th. Moonlight will shine brightly over the earth, making for a beautiful view of the moon, but not a great time for viewing fainter objects that will be obscured in the light.
Did you know - the December moon was known by the Native American tribes as the Cold Moon because it’s the time of year when the cold winter air settles in and the nights are long and dark.

December 21: December Solstice

More commonly known as the winter solstice, this day marks the first day of winter and the day with the least amount of sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere.

December 21-22: Ursids Meteor Shower

This smaller meteor shower produces about 5-10 meteors per hour at its peak late into the night of the 21st and early morning of the 22nd. The full moon will block out the fainter meteors, so to get the best views, head to a dark location away from city lights after midnight.
The Ursids were produced by dust grains left behind by the comet Tuttle. Meteors will originate from the constellation Ursa Minor but can be found anywhere in the sky.
Wishing our TelescopeTek community a happy holiday and a healthy, successful new year! We value each and every one of you, and couldn't be here without your support!
If you learned anything from this month's What We’re Watching Sky Gazing Guide, be sure to share it with a friend or on social media for others to enjoy!

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