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The Geminid Meteor Shower Lights Up the Dark Sky with December’s New Moon

Photo from Google

The Geminid meteor shower is easier to see during December’s new moon.

Photo from Google

Geminid Meteor Shower Sparkles in December’s Dark Skies

The new moon on December 12 at 6:32 p.m. Eastern coincides with the Geminids’ peak on December 14. The prolific Geminid meteor shower can produce 150 meteors each hour. The absence of moonlight makes fainter meteors easier to see.

By 8 p.m. in mid-northern latitudes, the Geminids shine above the horizon. This nearly moonless night offers a rare meteor shower. The waxing crescent moon sets in New York by 6:00 p.m., enhancing visibility.

On December 14, the moon passes Mercury, making it more visible. Due to the moon and Mercury’s low altitude, North Americans may have trouble seeing the conjunction around 12:20 a.m. EDT. Southerners with clear skies are more likely to see this occurrence.

READ ALSO: Full moon calendar 2023: When to see the next full moon

See Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and More in December’s New Moon Nights

December also features Saturn west of due south around 6 p.m., Jupiter in the southeast, and Venus as a “morning star” in the east before daybreak. Gemini, Taurus, Orion, Auriga, and Canis Major are stunning during the longer, clearer evenings of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Meteor showers and planetary conjunctions are amazing, but stargazing under December’s new moon is a simple way to appreciate the night sky. Celestial wonders are easier to see without moonlight, making it a great time for amateur and professional astronomers.

READ ALSO: December’s new moon allows the Geminid meteor shower to shine tonight

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