This month of December 2022, we will be visited by an interesting comet from the depths of the Oort cloud, we will be showered by up to 120 meteors per hour during the Geminid meteor shower peak, and we will be able to observe Mars and Mercury under great conditions.
On June 3 Saturn will be at opposition, which means it will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons because it will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long.
On the night of December 13 and 14 the Geminids meteor shower will peak. It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. This is why it is known as the king of meteor showers. Some meteors can also be seen anytime from December 7 to 17.
On June 6 the planet Venus will be at greatest eastern elongation. Venus will reach greatest eastern elongation of 45.4 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Venus because it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the bright planet in the western sky after sunset.
After a few months break, we are back with our monthly stargazing calendar series. On June 7 there will be a conjunction of the Moon and Mars. The two celestial bodies will get as close as two degrees of each other in the evening sky. The gibbous moon will be at magnitude -12.2 while Mars will be at magnitude -0.8.
Last month on Thanksgiving day comet ISON made a close approach to the Sun and unfortunately disintegrated in the process. It is possible that small pieces of the comet survived this encounter and if so, they will pass near the Earth by the end of this month.
Unlike last month, this won't be a such an eventful month when it comes to astronomical events. Mercury will be at its greatest eastern elongation and then we will have the June solstice. We will also have the largest full moon of the year.
On December 3 Jupiter was at Opposition. The giant planet was at its closest approach to Earth and its was fully illuminated by the Sun. Jupiter will still be very bright in the sky for the next few weeks. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons.
The month of November will be quite eventful when it comes to astronomical events, especially the second half of the month when we will be able to observe two eclipses, a meteor shower and a planetary conjunction. First of all, on November 13 there will be a total solar eclipse.
Today on June 5 we will have the chance to witness the transit of Venus across the Sun. This extremely rare event will be entirely visible throughout most of eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and Alaska.
On May 5, 6 we witnessed the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. It is a a light shower, usually producing about 10 meteors per hour at the peak. The full moon ruined the show this year, washing out all but the brightest meteors with its glare.
On December 10 we will witness a total lunar eclipse. The best viewing location will be in the Asia-Pacific region, but the eclipse will still be visible throughout most of Europe, eastern Africa, Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and North America. Unfortunately the eclipse will not be visible in South America.