THE SOLAR SYSTEM IN DECEMBER 2021
Dates and times shown are NZDT (UT + 13 hours). Rise and Set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data is adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.1.
An eclipse of the Sun on December 4 is not visible from Australasia.
THE SUN and PLANETS in DECEMBER 2021, Rise & Set Mag. & Cons. DEC 1 NZDT DEC 31 NZDT Mag Cons Rise Set Mag Cons Rise Set SUN -26.7 Oph 5.39am 8.39pm -26.7 Sgr 5.47am 8.59pm Merc -1.3 Oph 5.40am 8.47pm -0.7 Sgr 7.05am 10.11pm Venus -4.6 Sgr 8.29am 11.52pm -4.3 Sgr 7.09am 9.35pm Mars 1.7 Lib 4.43am 7.07pm 1.5 Oph 3.54am 6.56pm Jup -2.3 Cap 11.36pm 13.27am -2.1 Aqr 10.04am 11.41pm Sat 0.7 Cap 10.12pm 12.40am 0.7 Cap 8.28am 10.51pm Uran 5.7 Ari 6.06pm 4.27am 5.7 Ari 4.04pm 2.26am Nep 7.9 Aqr 1.44pm 2.27am 7.9 Aqr 11.47pm 12.29am Pluto 14.6 Sgr 8.57am 12.00mnt 14.6 Sgr 7.04am 10.05pm DEC 1 NZDT DEC 31 NZDT TWILIGHTS morning evening morning evening Civil: start 5.10am, end 9.10pm start 5.17am, end 9.31pm Nautical: start 4.28am, end 9.52pm start 4.33am, end 10.14pm Astro: start 3.40am, end 10.41pm start 3.42am, end 11.05pm DECEMBER PHASES OF THE MOON, times NZDT & UT New Moon: Dec 4 at 8.43pm (07:43 UT) First quarter: Dec 11 at 2.35pm (01:35 UT) Full Moon: Dec 19 at 5.35pm (04:35 UT) Last quarter Dec 27 at 3.24pm (02:24 UT)
THE PLANETS in DECEMBER 2021
MERCURY is an evening object. It sets only 8 minutes after the sun on the 1st and just over an hour after on the 31st, so is virtually unobservable in December.
VENUS remains in the evening sky but gets considerably lower during December, especially after being stationary on the 18th.
MARS is in the morning sky rising, by the end of the month, nearly 2 hours before the Sun. Late in the month it is less than 5° from the similarly coloured star, Antares.
JUPITER and SATURN are both in the evening sky, setting before midnight by the end of the month. The moon is some 4.5° above Saturn on the 8th and 3.5° to the upper left of Jupiter the following evening.
Early in December Venus and Jupiter, with Saturn about midway between them should be a fine sight in the western evening sky.
URANUS, NEPTUNE and PLUTO are evening objects, the latter setting at midnight on the 1st, and subsequently before that time.
POSSIBLE BINOCULAR ASTEROIDS in DECEMBER DEC 1 NZDT DEC 31 NZDT Mag Cons transit Mag Cons transit (1) Ceres 7.1 Tau 12.50am 7.8 Tau 10.29pm (4) Vesta 7.6 Sco 1.08pm 7.8 Oph 0.14pm (7) Iris 8.6 Cnc 4.48am 7.9 Gem 2.33am (44) Nysa 9.3 Tau 2.01am 9.5 Tau 11.34pm
CERES, an early evening object in Taurus, moves away from Aldebaran during December.
VESTA remains close to the Sun in December with an elongation of only 16° by the 31st. It will then rise only an hour before the Sun.
IRIS, in the morning sky, moves from Cancer to Gemini on the 27th. It is at opposition early in the New Year.
NYSA with a diameter just over 74km, reaches a magnitude of 9.1 when at opposition on the 11th.