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Best Stargazing Events of December 2013 (Sky Map Gallery)

The Moon Goes Visiting, Dec. 29, 2013

Goeff Gaherty/ Starry Night Software

Wednesday–Sunday, Dec. 25–29, 10:08–10:14 p.m. EST. Over the next five mornings, just before dawn, the Moon will pass by two planets and a bright star. It will be just below Saturn on Dec. 29.

East and west in the sky are the reverse of east and west on Earth maps because we are looking up rather than looking down. Notice how the Moon’s crescent shrinks over the five mornings, and how the stars and planets rise 4 minutes earlier each morning.

Mercury, December 2013

Goeff Gaherty/ Starry Night Software

Mercury is well placed in the morning sky for observers in the northern hemisphere for the first ten days of December.

Venus, December 2013

Goeff Gaherty/ Starry Night Software

Venus is at greatest brilliance on December 6, low in the southwestern sky just after sunset.

Mars, December 2013

Goeff Gaherty/ Starry Night Software

Mars is continues to brighten in Virgo in the morning sky.

Jupiter, December 2013

Goeff Gaherty/ Starry Night Software

Jupiter rises in the northeast about an hour and a half after sunset and shines brightly in Gemini the rest of the night. The Great Red Spot is easier to see than in many recent years, showing a distinct orange color.

Saturn, December 2013

Goeff Gaherty/ Starry Night Software

Saturn is low in morning twilight all month long, in the constellation Libra.

Uranus, December 2013

Goeff Gaherty/ Starry Night Software

Uranus is visible all evening, setting around 1 a.m. It spends most of the month in Pisces, but makes a brief excursion into Cetus from Dec. 10 to 20.

Neptune, December 2013

Goeff Gaherty/ Starry Night Software

Neptune, in Aquarius, is visible in the early evening and sets around 10 p.m.

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