The Geminid meteor shower reaches its maximum and this year provides a good opportunity to catch a few shooting stars. The meteors are best seen in the early hours of the morning. The Moon is at last quarter and will rise around midnight, but observers in the northern hemisphere should be able to see some meteors emanating near the star Castor from mid evening onwards.
(Other active meteor showers shown above are the Sigma Hydrids and the Monocerotids. For northern hemisphere observers, the Sigma Hydrids appear closer to the horizon while the Monocerotids appear further toward the south.)
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
Images Courtesy of Mobile Observatory.
12:10 UT – Dwarf planet Ceres is at apogee. (Magnitude 8.5, Ophiuchus, not visible.)
12:52 UT – Last Quarter Moon. (Leo, pre-dawn sky.)
Mercury leaves Ophiuchus and enters Sagittarius. (100% illuminated, magnitude -1.0, apparent diameter 4.6”. Not visible.)
Asteroid 3 Juno is stationary prior to beginning retrograde motion. (Magnitude 8.3. Hydra, pre-dawn sky.)
The Geminid meteor shower reaches its maximum (Maximum Zenith Hourly Rate: 120)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are easily visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Learn more about every upcoming astronomical event in 2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle eBook) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Kindle eBook) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Paperback Edition).
The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook allows astronomers to log 150 observing sessions and includes an appendix of hundreds of suggested deep sky objects.