December 2012 Celestial Highlights
12/21: 6:12 a.m. EST, Winter solstice. The sun reaches it lowest point along its daily arc across the sky and winter officially begins. The length of time of daylight increases, very slowly at first then faster in February.
11/29: Full Moon is just below Jupiter
12/2, Jupiter is at opposition and shines all night.
12/4: Mercury reaches its farthest point from the sun in the morning sky. If the skies are clear near the southeastern horizon, the little planet can be glimpsed as a "star." Binoculars will help find it in the bright dawn sky.
12/7: Earliest sunset
12/8, The brightest asteroid,Vesta, is at opposition. Binoculars and a finder chart are needed to find this dim object.
12/9: Moon lies just below the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo. This is visible in the morning sky.
12/10: Moon is next to Saturn in the morning sky.
12/12: Crescent Moon is next to Mercury very low in the sky at 6:50 a.m. Binoculars may be needed to spot Mercury.
12/13: Geminid Meteor Shower beginning about 8 p.m. and continuing through dawn on the 14th. No moonlight interferes this year, so, over 60 meteors per hour might be glimpsed from a dark location.
12/15: Crescent Moon glows just above Mars at 6:00 p.m. in the southwest. Because of the Red Planet's dimness in the bright evening twilight, binoculars may be needed to see it.
12/26: Moon sits just below Jupiter
12/28: Full moon
Such is our view from Earth...