Jupiter: Brian Cox reveals ‘rare’ photo taken by Hubble telescope
December 2020 promises to be an equally exciting month for amateur astronomers who will be treated to four bright planets and one of the year’s best meteor showers. On the night of December 13 to 14, debris associated with asteroid 3200 Phaethon will crash into Earth and produce hundreds of shooting stars – the Geminids meteor shower. And before that happens, you will have a chance to see the brightest of planets, Venus. Express.co.uk has compiled everything you need to know.
How to see Jupiter and Saturn in December:
The biggest planets of our solar system are headed towards a great conjunction later this month.
On December 21, the gas giant will appear to meet in the celestial dome, coming closer than they have in centuries.
Conjunctions like theis only happen once every 20 years or so, so this is one event you will not want to miss.
According to EarthSky astronomers Deborah Byrd and Bruce McClure the last Jupiter-Saturn great conjunction fell on May 28, 2000.
We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
The astronomers said: “Watch for these worlds to edge closer and closer together throughout the first three weeks of December 2020.”
You will want to grab a telescope or a strong pair of binoculars for this.
Look for the planets soon after sunset as the planets will be highest up around dusk and nightfall.
In the Northern Hemisphere, look for Jupiter in the south to southwest skies.
Saturn will appear nearby the gas giant like a particularly bright star.
Online tools like Stellarium can help you locate both planets on the celestial dome from your specific location.
How to see Mars in December:
The Red Planet Mars appears in the southeastern skies this month, moving in a westerly direction.
You should be able to spot the planet until well after midnight.
Keep an eye out for its characteristic reddish glow.
In October, the planet reached opposition to Earth and was at its brightest, meaning it is now slowly dimming.
The EarthSky astronomers said: “Even so, Mars remains bright and beautiful all throughout December.
“Let the moon help guide your eye to Mars for several nights centred on or near December 23.”
Astronomy: ‘Many civilisations out there’ as alien search ramps up [INSIGHT]
Asteroid news: NASA announces ‘potentially hazardous’ rock flyby [REPORT]
NASA UFO sighting: Alien ship 25 TIMES size of Earth spotted at Sun [PICTURES]
How to see Venus in December:
The brightest planet of the solar system will be visible for the rest of the month as the so-called Morning Star.
At different times of the year, Venus shows up around sunrise or sunset, and has been called the Evening and Morning Star, respectively.
At the start of December, Venus will rise about two-and-a-half hours before the Sun, although this will shorten as the month progresses.
After the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the third brightest object visible from Earth thanks to its thick and highly reflective atmosphere.
What else to look out for this month:
On the night of December 13 to December 14, the Geminid meteor shower will peak with more than 100 meteors and hour.
The following morning, the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun for a total solar eclipse.
The December 14 eclipse will pass over parts of South America, southwest Africa and the Antarctic.
NASA’s lunar expert Gordon Johnston said: “If it were not for the current pandemic, I would be heading to South America to see this total eclipse of the Sun!”
Source: Read Full Article