Weymouth Astronomy

The Planets - December 2018

Observing the planets can be extremely rewarding. Everyone remembers the first time they observed Saturn and it's rings or the gas giant Jupiter and it's Galillean Moons. Solar System


Mercury passed between us and the Sun (inferior conjunction) on the 27th of November but appears in the pre dawn sky around the 6th of the month. As the morning ecliptic is at a steep angle to the horizon at this time of the year this is an excellent apparition.


Venus begins December at an elevation of 32 degrees and a dazzling magnitude of -4.9. A brilliant morning object rising four hours ahead of the sun by mid month.


Mars, although fading from magnitude -0.0 to +0.4 during the month remains prominent in the southern sky as it starts the month in Aquariusat an elevation of 27 degrees. It will lie due south around 6pm and moves eastwards into Pisces on the 21st


Jupiter passed behind the Sun on November 26th and will appear low in the eastern pre-dawn sky around the 12th of the month. Not a good month to observe it due to its low elevation.


Saturn might just be glimpsed in the first few days of December very low in the southwest around 16:45 but soon disappears into the Sun's glare as it moves towards superior conjunction on January 2nd.

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine