December Nights – Skygazing 2013

December is a great month for stargazing. Crisp, rich night skies provide even city-dwellers with great rewards. But, it’s even better if you can get away from the light-polluted towns and cities where you might even be able to make out the Milky Way stretching overhead. If you can, try a night at the UK’s first Dark Sky Park in Galloway Forest Park where if the weather is favourable the skies are glorious! Of course, if you’re heading out in the winter it makes sense to be prepared – wrap up warm!

Skygazing is not just a night time activity though! Look up through the day and you’ll often be amazed! Here’s a picture I took just the other day as the sun was rising over Glasgow at the River Clyde. Beautiful!

The Sun rises over the city of Glasgow on a cold winter's morning. Image by Derek Shirlaw.

The Sun rises over the city of Glasgow on a cold winter’s morning. Image by Derek Shirlaw.

 

The Night Sky

This image shows what the night sky looks like on 3rd December 2013 at midnight from Glasgow, UK. The sky will look similar at the same time through the month (you can click on it to make the image bigger).

The overhead night sky from Glasgow, UK at midnight on 3rd December 2013. Made using Stellarium.

The overhead night sky from Glasgow, UK at midnight on 3rd December 2013. Made using Stellarium.

Prominent in the sky are the constellations of Orion, Taurus and Gemini. The planet Jupiter is very bright and beside the stars Castor and Pollux (of Gemini). Also, look out for the familiar ‘W’ shape of Cassiopeia and try finding ‘The Plough’ in order to work out what direction you’re facing.

Using The Plough to find Polaris and North.

Using The Plough to find Polaris and North.

Astronomy Christmas Gifts

Looking to treat yourself or a loved one to an astronomy book this Christmas? Look no further! Check out these fantastic books about astronomy which are accessible for all levels and highly recommended.

Sunrise and Sunset times, Glasgow

  • 3rd December 2013 – Sunrise 08:26 Sunset 15:47

  • 9th December 2013 – Sunrise 08:35 Sunset 15:44

  • 17th December 2013 – Sunrise 08:43 Sunset 15:43

  • 25th December 2013 – Sunrise 08:47 Sunset 15:47

Times are listed are local to Glasgow.

December Solstice (Winter Solstice) is on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 17:11 in Glasgow. In most locations north of Equator, the shortest day of the year is around this date.

Moon Phases

  • New Moon – 3rd December, 00:23

  • First Quarter – 9th December 2013, 15:12

  • Full Moon – 17th December 2013, 09:29

  • Last Quarter – 25th December 2013, 13:48

Times are listed are local to Glasgow.

Happy skygazing this December!

About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*