What's in the Sky Tonight?

December 2023

December 9 - Conjunction of the Crescent Moon and Venus.

December 12 - New Moon.

December 13, 14 - Geminids Meteor Shower. This is considered the best shower of the year, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. The Geminids occur annually from December 7-17 and peaks this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. Tonight's nearly new moon will provide dark skies for what should be an excellent show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight.

December 17 - Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn.

December 21, 22 - Ursids Meteor Shower. This is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. The Ursids shower occurs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. Tonight's waxing gibbous moon will block out most of the faintest meteors this year. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights.

December 22 - Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter.

December 22 - December Solstice.

December 27 - Full Moon.

Here's a list of the best observing nights in 2023.

A mini telescope you can take anywhere

If you love sky gazing, you have to have a pair of astronomy binoculars! Binoculars are a fantastic alternative to telescopes—inexpensive, lightweight, and portable. For city dwellers where there is a lot of light pollution, binoculars are essential if you want to see much of anything.

Binoculars enlarge and brighten the beauty and immensity of the night sky. You can see the detail of the moon's craters, the phases of Venus, the moons and stripes of Jupiter, the awesome jewels that dot the Milky Way, nebulae, star clusters, and comets when they're passing near.

Our favorite astonomy binoculars is the Celestron SkGiyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars. These are excellent as well:


A year-round, real-time sky map

planisphere star locator mapA planisphere is a rotating star chart that allows you to dial in the entire visible sky for any day and time of the year and with great precision. It has been called an analog star computer and was considered magical in ancient times.

Planispheres show the brightest stars, constellations, notable galaxies and nebulae, as well as the path of the Milky Way. The plane of the ecliptic is also shown, which reveals the pathway of the planets as they appear to move across the night sky.

Purchase a planisphere for $7.95