Night Sky Guide December 2016
Your guide to constellations, deep-sky objects, planets, and events. Tonight’s Sky, highlights of the December Night Sky.
After the Sun sets on these short December days, you can find Venus and Mars hanging out in the darkening southwestern sky. The two planets will move closer together as the month progresses.
Constellations and Deep-Sky Objects
Two prominent constellations in the December night sky represent notable individuals of ancient Greek mythology. The great hero Perseus holds the head of Medusa the Gorgon. Located in Perseus is M34, an open star cluster about 1,400 light-years away from us. Open star clusters are groups of young stars that all formed at the same time within a large cloud of dust and gas. Look for it with the naked eye or with binoculars in a dark sky.
Queen Cassiopeia was punished for her conceit and vanity by being tied to her throne. Cassiopeia’s “M” or “W” shape makes this constellation easy to identify. Eta Cassiopeiae is a wonderful and colourful double star. Use binoculars or a small telescope to discern its gold and blue hues. M103 in Cassiopeia is a fine open star cluster with a prominent red ...