Every Monday I pick the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week forward, however remember to take a look at my major feed for extra in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses and extra.
What To Watch For In The Night time Sky This Week: December 20-26, 2021
With the Moon waning from its complete section on the weekend our satellite tv for pc remains to be a powerfully brilliant presence within the night time sky. That makes this week’s Ursid meteor bathe most commonly missable. Although you may even see one or two specifically brilliant “capturing stars” you’ll be as an alternative in search of Comet Leonard after sundown.
This week additionally contains the most important way-marker for the stargazer, the December solstice, the beginning of wintry weather within the northern hemisphere and summer time within the southern hemisphere.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021: December Solstice
The solstice marks the purpose within the Earth’s orbit of the Solar when the Solar is above the Tropic of Capricorn. As a result the northern hemisphere is tilted clear of the Solar and the southern hemisphere is pointed against it.
The ones within the northern hemisphere get much less daylight whilst the Solar may be decrease within the sky so takes a shorter trail thru it. It’s due to this fact within the sky for much less time. It’s additionally much less intense. All of those components imply that, sure it will get chilly. That’s even if Earth would be the closest it will get to the Solar in early January.
Iciness solstice within the northern hemisphere (and summer time solstice within the southern hemisphere) happens on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 15:58 UTC.
Tuesday-Wednesday, December 21-22, 2021: Ursid meteor bathe
Even supposing closing week’s Geminids meteor bathe took most sensible billing there’s some other probability this week to glimpse some “fireballs” within the night time sky. Operating from December 17 regardless that December 26 but peaking across the solstice, the Ursids aren’t as prolific at round 5 to ten “capturing stars” consistent with hour. This 12 months’s show will nearly unquestionably be spoiled through a just-past-full Moon, however it can be value getting outdoor as quickly because it will get darkish and taking a look normally north against the Giant Dipper, which is the place the meteors seem to originate from.
Gadgets of the week: Venus and Comet Leonard
It’s no longer as brilliant or as simple to look as July 2020’s Comet Neowise, however Comet Leonard—often known as C/2021 A1 (Leonard)—is now getting brighter within the post-sunset sky.
Venus is so brilliant at this time )it reached “biggest brilliance” only some wweeks in the past) that it’s an invaluable guidepost to search out Comet Leonard. The “Night Megastar” is now outstanding within the southwestern sky simply after sundown; glance to its left and also you’ll have a just right shot at seeing Comet Leonard (regardless that binoculars are advisable).
Wishing you transparent skies and large eyes.
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