Planets Next to the Moon in December 2022
This December, we’ll see seven lunar-planetary conjunctions and two lunar occultations. Check this calendar to learn what planet is closest to the Moon right now.
December 2: Moon-Jupiter conjunction
On December 2, 2022, at 12:52 GMT (7:52 a.m. EST), the Moon will pass at a distance of 2°30' from Jupiter. To see them close together, use binoculars or observe with the naked eye — fortunately, Jupiter (magnitude -2.6) is perfectly visible even without optics. You will find it near the waxing gibbous Moon in the constellation Pisces. Both objects will reach the highest point in the sky by 8 p.m. local time.
December 5: Moon-Uranus conjunction
On December 5, 2022, at 17:30 GMT (12:30 p.m. EST), the Moon will pass within 36'12″ from Uranus. The distance is a little too far to spot both objects at once through a telescope. Uranus (magnitude 5.7) is not the easiest target for the naked eye, especially when it’s near the bright, 96%-illuminated Moon. Binoculars will be the best option. Both celestial bodies will be in the constellation Aries and will climb the highest by 11 p.m. local time. The Pleiades (magnitude 1.2), also shining near the Moon, will add up to the scene as a “co-star” (or “co-star-cluster”).
Observers from parts of Asia, Northern Africa, Northern Europe, and Greenland will have a chance to see the Moon passing in front of Uranus. The event is called lunar occultation and can only be observed from certain parts of the world; the rest will see the conjunction.
December 8: Moon-Mars conjunction
On December 8, 2022, at 04:21 GMT (December 7, 11:21 p.m. EST), the Full Moon and Mars will meet in the constellation Taurus. The distance between them will be 32', which is a bit too far for a telescope’s field of view. Opt for binoculars or observe with the naked eye — on the same day, Mars will reach opposition and shine at its brightest (magnitude -1.9).
Another spectacular event that will occur on December 8 is the lunar occultation of Mars. It will be visible in the sky above Northern America, Europe, and Northern Africa — stargazers from that locations will see the luminous Red Planet disappearing behind the Full Moon.
December 24: Moon-Venus conjunction
On December 24, 2022, at 11:29 GMT (6:29 a.m. EST), the Moon will be at a distance of 3°28' from Venus. The conjunction will be a challenge to see because it occurs one day after the New Moon, so our natural satellite will be almost invisible. Venus (magnitude -3.9) will fall behind the horizon an hour after the Sun, so there’s not much time for observations. You can also find Mercury (magnitude -0.5) shining nearby.
December 24: Moon-Mercury conjunction
On December 24, 2022, at 18:31 GMT (1:31 p.m. EST), the Moon will also meet Mercury (magnitude -0.5) in the constellation Sagittarius. The distance between the two objects will be 3°45'. You will have a hard time finding the 5%-illuminated Moon, but the planet will be in a good position. On December 21, it will reach its greatest eastern elongation, meaning it will break away from the Sun’s glare and will appear in the evening sky not affected by its light. Mercury will set an hour and a half after the Sun; find it shining low above the horizon. Those who’ll start their observations right after sunset might also spot Venus (magnitude -3.9) near Mercury.
December 26: Moon-Saturn conjunction
On December 26, at 16:11 GMT (11:11 a.m. EST), the Moon will come close to Saturn. The distance between the two celestial bodies will be 4°. The Moon will appear as a barely visible crescent. The planet (magnitude 0.8) will be shining in the evening sky for about three hours after sunset. Observe both objects through binoculars or with the naked eye in the constellation Capricornus.
December 29: Moon-Jupiter conjunction
On December 29, at 10:29 GMT (5:29 a.m. EST), the Moon will slide by Jupiter for the second time this month. Jupiter (magnitude -2.4) will shine 2°18' away from the waxing crescent. The duo will climb the highest by 6 p.m. local time. Observe them in the constellation Pisces via binoculars or with the naked eye.