Archive for December 25, 2019

12/25/2019 – Ephemeris – A look at the naked-eye planets for Christmas

December 25, 2019 Comments off

Merry Christmas. This is Ephemeris for Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:07, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:18. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 8:42 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the naked-eye planets for this week. Venus is our Christmas Star low in the southwest in the early evening. It will set at 7:43 p.m. Saturn, the ringed planet, will be in the southwestern sky in the evening, and will set at 6:26 p.m. Tonight Saturn will be about 16 ½ degrees or more than the width of a fist held at arms length right and below the much brighter Venus. Jupiter is lost in twilight. It will pass behind the Sun on the Friday, entering the morning sky.

Mars is in the morning sky and will rise in the east-southeast at 5:07 a.m. It’s not very bright because it’s 206 million (332 million km) miles away, but it’s getting slowly closer to the Earth. Mercury is now too close to the Sun to be seen in the morning.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Evening planets

Venus and Saturn low on the southwest tonight at 6 p.m. December25, 2019. Saturn is only 3 1/2 degrees above the Lake Michigan horizon. Created using Stellarium.

Very enlarged Venus

Venus, much larger than it would appear in any telescope to show its gibbous phase, tonight December 25, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Mars in the morning

Mars in the morning with the bright stars at 7 a.m. December 26, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on December 25, 2019. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 26th. The Moon at the morning hour is south of the Sun having just completing a solar eclipse for Asia. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.