• Chris Baker

What's Up? -DECEMBER 2021


Each month I highlight a number of objects you can spot with the naked eye. So here we go for December!


PLANETS


MERCURY


The elusive planet can be spotted this month,. It hugs the sun of course so you must be carful and never use optical equipment.

It is always difficult to spot but this month it is close to Venus shortly after sunset so Venus can be used as a 'marker'.

The later in the month the better and on the 29th December Venus and Mercury will be close together with Mercury setting about an hour and a quarter after sunset.



Courtesy of Stellarium


It is best seen later in the month just after sunset looking south-south west.


Venus

Venus is also best seen just after sunset and again do not use optical equipment given it is so close to the sun. It is best seen early in the month in a south-south westerly direction.


Venus just after sunset on the 6th December above a crescent moon

Courtesy of Stellarium


The Gas Giants - Jupiter and Saturn


Jupiter

is a very bright object and will reach its highest elevation this month, around 23 degrees. By the end of the month the sun is still up as Jupiter reaches this high point with the planet setting about 4.5 hours after the sun. look South!


Saturn

Look just west of south and not far from Jupiter in early twilight.



The Challenge


See if you can spot all four planets this month at once! -This is best toward the end of December and let me know if you manage to see this beautiful sight!