December marks the beginning of winter in Michigan but also the longest nights of the year. Perfect conditions for gazing at the night sky.

December 1 marks the calendar beginning to the winter, with the Winter Solstice (or astronomical winter) taking place on December 21st for 2019. The Winter Solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight with sunrise taking place shortly after 8:00 a.m. and sunset beginning not long after 5:00 p.m.

Those looking for a bright side to all the nighttime need look no further than sky above.

Mark these astronomical events to your calendar:

The Geminid meteor shower December 13-14

  • "The Geminids are usually the strongest meteor shower of the year and meteor enthusiasts are certain to circle December 13 and 14 on their calendars," the American Meteor Society (AMS) explained on their website. The meteor shower can bring as many as 150 meteors per hour on Friday, December 13 into the early morning of Saturday, December 14 this year, according to the AMS. Unfortunately, many of the meteors may go unnoticed as the Geminids peak just one night after the full moon. Stargazers should look to darker areas of the sky away from moon.

The Ursids meteor shower December 21-22

  • The final meteor shower of the decade will reach its peak on the night of December 21 into the early morning of December 22. The Ursids can be expected to bring around 10 meteors per hour.

Annular solar eclipse December 26

  • The final solar eclipse of the decade will take place the day after Christmas, but only certain parts of the world will be able to see the moon pass directly between the Earth and the sun. The annular solar eclipse will only be visible in parts of the Middle East, southern Indian and Indonesia, but not Michigan this year. This type of eclipse is also known as "the ring of fire" eclipse due to the moon being near it's farthest point from earth, appearing not quite large enough to cover the sun, leaving a ring of light around the moon.

Don't forget to keep looking up.


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