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Astronomical calendar December 2022: the biggest star shower of the year

Por: Ecoo sfera29 de noviembre de 2022

The astronomical calendar of December 2022 will give us the last and the biggest star shower of all. We’ll also witness the entrance of the winter solstice.

The year is almost over, but the cosmos has reserved the best of its sights for the December 2022 astronomical calendar. In addition to the Full Cold Moon and the entrance of the solstice, the December skies will blaze with hundreds of shooting stars scudding across the vault. The biggest meteor shower of the year is on the horizon.

December 2022 Astronomical Calendar

Full Cold Moon and Mars in opposition

On December 8, the Earth’s natural satellite will reach the last full moon of the year. The Moon will be positioned behind the Earth, from the perspective of the Sun, and will receive the full rays of the Astro Majus. The fully illuminated lunar disk will face the night side of the Earth, so we will be able to admire the bright star high in the night sky.

The Full Cold Moon, as the December full moon is called, will enter at 04:09 UTC. To observe it, look east as the Sun sets in the west. You will see the satellite emerge from the horizon and gradually rise across the ecliptic.

That same night, Mars will reach its closest approach to our planet and will shine brighter than usual. Its presence will be visible throughout the night of December 8 as it transits from east to west.

[Photo: Tomas Slovinsky]

Geminids, the biggest star shower of the year

The Geminids are the queens of meteor showers, they are considered so because they produce up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak. On average, meteor showers do not exceed 50 meteors per hour, so if you have the opportunity to get out of the light pollution, this is the perfect opportunity.

The Geminids meteor shower is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982 and occurs annually from December 7 to 17, but there is a peak day of activity.

This 2022 the peak of the Geminids will be in the evening of December 13 and early morning of December 14, when the radiant will be high in the sky. We will have a waning moon so some meteors will be blocked by the light from the satellite, but the Geminids are so amazing that we will still be able to see dozens of stars streaking across the sky.

Winter Solstice

Solstice entry will occur exactly on December 21 at 21:40 UTC. The Earth’s South Pole will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. It will mark the onset of winter (winter solstice) for the northern hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) for the southern hemisphere.

Ursids star shower

The astronomical calendar of 2022 bids farewell to the last meteor shower of the year known as the Ursids. Produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, it extends annually from December 17 to 25, with its maximum during the night of the 21st and early morning of the 22nd.

Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera

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