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26.11.09

December Astronomical Events

December 13, 14 - Geminids Meteor Shower. Considered by many to be the best meteor shower in the heavens, the Geminids are known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak. The peak of the shower is on December 13 & 14, although some meteors should be visible from December 6 - 19. This year, a nearly new moon will provide an excellent viewing experience in the early morning hours. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Gemini. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight.
December 21 - The Winter Solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere at 17:47 UT. The Sun is at its lowest point in the sky and it will be the shortest day of the year. This is also the first day of winter.
December 31 - Partial Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
A lunar eclipse is an eclipse which occurs whenever the moon passes behind the earth such that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, there is always a full moon the night of a lunar eclipse. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon’s location relative to its orbital nodes. The next total lunar eclipse occurs on December 21, 2010.

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