An Evening Moon, it’s the Week to Peek at Comet Wirtanen, Mercury at Maximum Visibility, and Geminid Meteors Peak, too!

(Above: Damian Peach of Australia captured this image of Comet 46P/Wirtanen on December 7, 2018. Note the distinctive green halo and the the very faint tail extending to the lower right. This image is inverted from a binocular view. His galleries are accessed at
(Above: The orbit of comet 40P/Wirtanen crosses the solar system between Jupiter’s and Earth’s orbital distances on a 5.4 year loop. This year, when that comet is near perihelion and at maximum brightness, Earth will be nearby, setting up the potential for a naked-eye comet in our skies.)
(Above: To record the splendor of the Geminids Meteor Shower, Yin Hao captured this composite of 37 frames spanning 8.5 hours on December 12–13, 2017 at a location in Inner Mongolia. The pair of bright stars centred within the meteors are Castor and Pollux in Gemini. Orion is to their lower right, with the Milky Way rising through centre-frame. NASA APOD for December 15, 2017.)
(Above: The radiant location for the Geminids meteor shower. For best results, wait until the radiant is overhead around 2 am local time. But don’t watch the radiant — the meteors will be shortest there.)
(Above: Jupiter will join the inner planets Mercury and Venus in the eastern pre-dawn sky this week. Mercury will achieve peak visibility on December 15, as shown here at 7 am local time.)
(Above: Taurus, the Bull leads the bright winter constellations up the eastern sky in December)




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