As 2023 comes to a close, here are some things to see in the sky in December.

The Moon:

Moon phases for this month are as follows:

  • Last quarter: December 5
  • New Moon: December 12
  • First quarter: December 19
  • Full Moon: December 27

December's new Moon is called the Cold Moon, referring to the cool winter weather of the month.

The planets and stars:

The skies will be at their darkest this month due to the Winter Solstice.

This gives stargazers a better chance to witness the Milky Way passing through northern Perseus and into Cassiopeia.

The best time to see Mercury is early in the morning of December 31 - but Venus will be the brightest morning planet this month, most visible in early December. 

Jupiter will be brightest on the evenings of December 20 and 21 while Uranus is close by and well-placed on evenings all month. 

Meteor showers: 

This month brings one of the best meteor showers of the year with the Geminids emanating from the Gemini constellation at a possible hourly rate of 150 meteors per hour. 

It will reach its peak on December 14 and 15 during the moon's waxing crescent peak. 

Although the shower can be seen from a few hours after sunset, it will be most visible in the early hours of the morning.