Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for December 8th through January 4th.
The full moon for the month of December is on Monday the 8th. This full moon is called the Long Night Moon and the Moon Before Yule. The moon is at third quarter on Tuesday the 16th and is new on Tuesday the 23rd. The moon will reach first quarter on December 30th.
The winter solstice occurs at 1:04 a.m. central time. Monday December 22nd, marking the longest night of the year.
Saturn will appear to the right of the moon on Wednesday the 10th as they rise in the east around 7 p.m. Look for a slim crescent moon alongside a brilliant Venus at sunset on Christmas.
The Geminid Meteor Shower peaks on the night of the13th into the morning hours of the 14th. In good sky conditions this shower can produce around 100 meteors an hour, although this year's viewing will be compromised by the waning gibbous moon. The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks the night of Saturday January 3rd into the morning hours of the 4th. This shower also had the potential of producing about 100 meteors an hour, and will not be hampered by moonlight.
Saturn is at opposition on the last day of the year. The ringed planet will rise at sunset and be visible all night long.
For more skywatching tips for the week check out stardate.org
Public viewing on UT campus telescopes is currently on hiatus. Viewing will resume in January with the start of the UT spring semester. Please call this recording in mid-January for starting dates and times.
Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report and have a wonderful and safe holiday season.