wjxt logo

December is a great month for stargazing. Here are some tips

Geminid meteor shower, ‘Christmas Star’ can be viewed this month

December is a great month for stargazing. Here are some tips
December is a great month for stargazing. Here are some tips

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The best meteor shower of the year is only a few days away, but it’s not the only nice thing that will brighten up the night sky in December.

In celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope’s 30th anniversary, NASA released newly processed images.

LINK: Explore - The Night Sky | Hubble’s Caldwell Catalog

Credits: NASA, ESA, and L. Ho (Peking University); Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

Jim Jeletic is the deputy project manager for the Hubble Space Telescope, which is famous for capturing beautiful images of our galaxies.

“We went in the archive that exists and pulled out 30 objects worth of images that we had never released before to the public,” he said. “The beautiful thing about this is that some of these objects are naked eye objects.”

Those objects include the Geminid meteor shower Sunday night.

And For the first time in eight centuries -- that’s 800 years -- you’ll have a better chance to see the rare “Christmas Star” in the sky. Jupiter and Saturn will be close enough together that they will appear to be one.

The planets align every 20 years, but they’ll be more visible this time. So mark your calendar for Dec. 21.

“We have taken one-and-a-half million observations of the sky,” he said.

Now it’s your turn to see for yourself. If you’re not sure where to look in the sky, smartphones have apps you can download where you point your phone at the night sky and it helps identify the stars.

“You really have to turn down the brightness on your phone as much as you can so that that way it doesn’t bother you trying to pick out these objects,” Jeletic said.

A tip for iPhone users, if you have to look at your phone, put it in red mode. You can do this in the phone’s settings by clicking accessibility>display>color filter. Turn it on. Make sure it’s on color tint and that the intensity and hue are turned all the way up.

You’ll be able to see the rare Christmas Star with the naked eye but you can use binoculars to get a closer look. Just make sure they’re placed on a steady surface.

It won’t happen again for another 20 years, so you won’t want to miss it!


About the Author:

Danielle forecasts the weather on the weekends and reports on climate, environment and other issues during the week