Archive for December 21, 2022

12/21/2022 – Ephemeris – Winter starts today plus our weekly look at the bright planets

December 21, 2022 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Wednesday, December 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:05, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:17. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 7:41 tomorrow morning.

Winter begins today at 4:48 pm, just before sunset, from then on until next June the 21st, the Sun, being its farthest south in our skies, will be heading northward again. Let’s see where the naked-eye planets have wandered off to this week. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible this evening, in the east to southwestern sky at 6 pm. Jupiter is the brightest of the three in the south-southeast, while dimmer Saturn is low in the south-southwest at that hour. Mars is above Orion in the east. Saturn, the westernmost of the bright planets, will set around 9:16 this evening. Venus and Mercury are also in the evening sky, but too close to the setting Sun to be easily spotted. At 6 pm, both will be very low on the southwestern horizon.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT –5 hours). They may be different for your location.


Winter solstice today


Comparing the sun’s path at the summer and winter solstices. This is a stereographic representation of the whole sky, which distorts the sky and magnifies the size of the sun’s path near the horizon. This chart is for Traverse City, Michigan, about a third of a degree south of 45º north latitude. Created using my LookingUp app.

The bright planets this week

Planets at 7 pm in the evening

Panoramic view of planets this evening at 7 pm, December 21, 2022. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic views of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars

Telescopic views of Saturn Jupiter and Mars (north up) as they would be seen in a small telescope, with the same magnification. The image of Mars doesn’t show it, but the white north polar cap will appear at the top or north limb of Mars. The planets are shown at 7 pm tonight, December 21, 2022. Apparent diameters: Saturn 15.95″, its rings 37.15″; Jupiter 40.64″. Mars 15.92″. Mars’ distance is 54.6 million miles (88.0 million kilometers). The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon on a single night

The naked-eye planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise on a single night, starting with sunset on the right on December 21, 2022. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 22nd. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using my LookingUp app and GIMP.