Dear Stargazer Friends,

I hope you have been well. Here is the December 2021 Astronomical Calendar and it’s a bit a time to celebrate One Year of isasastroatelier.ch website being online!

Almost exactly a year ago I launched my website with the intent to publish my astrophotography and a monthly astronomical calendar. It has been a journey of learning and I keep learning every day. 

Astrophotography depends on a lot of factors: weather (which is often not good in Switzerland and 2021 was particularly bad), experience, equipment and – above all – curiosity and perseverance. In February 2021 I realized that my mount would not last for long so I had to have a plan and… lots of nerves. Came May and my new mount arrived but not without some software complications. Anyway, I’ll spare you all the technical details (if you are interested, just send me an e-mail). 

Finally it’s December 2021 already and I’m ready to work with a mount I just started to understand how it works – and it works just great – as well as a dedicated astrophotography camera. Hopefully winter will bring a few crystal clear nights for astrophotography projects such as the Horsehead nebula in the constellation of Orion. 

Most of all, I cannot understate the fact that it takes good advice and that I was lucky enough to have a few people out there who believe in me and who really supported me along the way. So, thanks to you all! Most of all, thanks for your loyalty and for subscribing to my astro newsletter. Now to what’s ahead this month:

December has arrived and with it, winter solstice (summer solstice in the southern hemisphere) on 21 December 2021 at 1559 UTC

The James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) is currently scheduled to launch on 22 December 2021 on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. For updates on this next great space science observatory visit Webb.

This month, we’ll also have a full Solar eclipse on 4 December 2021 – only visible from Australia, New Zealand, Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Antarctica. More observable for most of us will be Venus. It will reach maximum magnitude on 7 December. Another beautiful opportunity will be on 9 December, when the Moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at around 7°.

I think the “star” of December really is Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard. It will most probably reach its maximum luminosity on 10 December. Let’s hope for good weather in order to observe (through binoculars) and/or take pictures of it (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, try to observe it earlier since it will become unobservable soon after 11 December). Other highlights this month are the Geminids (Meteor showers) who will reach peak on 14 December.

Wishing you a happy Holiday Season and all the best & happiness for 2022!

Best wishes and Clear Skies,
Isa

Horsehead and Flame nebulae in monochrome – picture by Isabel Streit 2021

Meteor showers in December 2021

The Geminids will reach maximum peak on 14 December 2021.

Moon phases December 2021

PhaseDate
New Moon04 December, 08:43
First Quarter11 December, 02:35
Full Moon (Micro Full Moon)19 December, 05:35
Third Quarter27 December, 03:23

Comets

Ephemeris for C/2021 A1 (Leonard)

Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1) is currently in the constellation of Canes Venatici and will soon move on to Bootes. It should gain in magnitude in December. However, in the northern hemisphere it will become unobservable from around 11 December so hurry up. Find an up to date ephemeris calculation here: In-the-Sky.

Planets

For local times go to In-The-Sky.org

Mercury – not observable from Switzerland in December.

Venus is currently in the constellation of Sagittarius and will be visible all month. Peak mag. on 7 December (15 December according to In-the-Sky.org). It’s already a breath-taking sight so I wonder how it will be mid December.

Mercury is currently not observable from Switzerland. If you happen to live in a country with a true horizon, look at the east-southeastern horizon as morning twilights begins. 

Jupiter is visible in the constellation of Capricornus until 14 December. After that, it will be visible in the constellation of Aquarius.

Saturn appears in the constellation of Capricorn and is observable all month – but hurry up, since it will disappear soon after dusk as the month is progressing.

Uranus is observable in the constellation of Aries till around 2:22 a.m. (15 December 2021).

Neptune is observable all month in the Constellation of Aquarius (first part of the night).

Bright (Double) Stars

NameMag.RiseTransitElev.SetSep.
Polaris1.9521h54m+47°36’27.49″+0°00’00.17″
Mirfak1.7522h20m+86°57’47.59″+0°02’43.98″
Aldebaran0.8516h13m23h32m+59°36’15.72″6h51m+0°00’31.02″
Capella0.050h13m+89°04’14.61″+0°00’00.05″
Bellatrix1.6017h49m0h21m+49°26’05.62″6h53m+0°02’58.00″
Elnath1.6515h53m0h22m+71°40’55.61″8h52m+0°00’33.40″
Alnilam1.6518h33m0h32m+41°52’54.80″6h31m+0°02’59.34″
Alnitak1.8518h41m0h37m+41°08’21.72″6h33m+0°00’02.36″
Betelgeuse0.4518h15m0h51m+50°28’34.17″7h28m+0°00’00.06″
Menkalinan1.900h56m+88°00’02.36″+0°00’00.00″
Mirzam1.9520h35m1h19m+25°07’12.65″6h02m+0°03’06.64″
Alhena1.9018h16m1h34m+59°26’29.83″8h52m+0°00’00.38″
Sirius-1.4520h52m1h41m+26°20’19.14″6h30m+0°00’10.67″
Adhara1.5022h15m1h55m+14°06’52.33″5h34m+0°00’07.86″
Castor1.9017h38m2h31m+74°53’43.11″11h25m+0°00’05.24″
Procyon0.4020h09m2h36m+48°14’07.22″9h02m+0°00’03.80″
Pollux1.1518h17m2h42m+71°01’46.27″11h06m+0°00’39.82″
Alphard1.9522h58m4h24m+34°19’22.12″9h50m+0°04’42.25″
Regulus1.3522h09m5h05m+54°55’24.82″12h02m+0°02’55.10″
Dubhe2.006h01m+75°18’53.98″+0°00’00.68″
Alioth1.757h51m+81°06’00.13″+0°00’00.11″
Deneb1.2515h36m+88°23’59.10″+0°01’15.55″
On 15 December 2021, Source: Stellarium.org

Galaxies

NameMag.RiseTransitElev.SetAng. Size
NGC 10979.4818h10m21h42m+12°56’05.33″1h13m+0°04’39.48″
NGC 1365 (Great Barred Spiral Galaxy)9.6319h47m22h29m+7°06’08.42″1h11m+0°04’45.09″
NGC 140410.0019h47m22h34m+7°38’19.64″1h22m+0°02’16.80″
NGC 18089.9421h36m0h03m+5°42’48.20″2h30m+0°02’58.80″
NGC 27689.874h09m+77°00’08.90″+0°03’47.76″
NGC 2841 (Tiger’s Eye Galaxy)9.224h19m+86°03’34.92″+0°04’35.22″
NGC 29039.0120h44m4h29m+64°27’48.52″12h13m+0°04’41.82″
NGC 35219.0223h59m6h03m+42°54’54.85″12h06m+0°04’19.56″
NGC 3628 (Hamburger Galaxy)9.4823h13m6h17m+56°31’53.17″13h21m+0°06’33.45″
NGC 44949.7423h19m7h28m+68°42’32.21″15h38m+0°03’04.95″
On 15 December 2021, Source: Stellerium.org

Clusters of Galaxies

NameMag.RiseTransitElev.SetAng. Size
Abell 8512.8014h13m19h37m+33°51’01.45″1h01m
Abell 194 (Cetus Cluster)11.6014h22m20h21m+41°48’44.52″2h20m
Abell 26212.1011h13m20h48m+79°17’43.61″6h24m
Abell 56911.802h06m+88°21’42.10″
Abell 77911.5019h07m4h17m+76°43’15.03″13h26m
Abell 95712.8023h10m5h10m+42°02’09.82″11h10m
Abell 114212.8023h08m5h58m+53°30’02.21″12h48m
Abell 118512.8021h39m6h07m+71°39’49.53″14h36m
Abell 131412.606h32m+87°59’58.85″
Abell 131812.206h33m+82°01’49.89″
Abell 1367 (Leo Cluster)11.6023h07m6h42m+62°38’12.56″14h16m
Abell 1656 (Coma Cluster)10.7023h33m7h57m+70°54’55.73″16h21m
Abell 231912.9014h15m+87°03’12.45″
Abell 263412.2010h14m18h33m+70°12’02.65″2h52m
Abell 266612.3010h26m18h46m+70°19’07.27″3h06m
On 15 December 2021, Source: Stellarium.org

Deep Sky Objects

NameMag.RiseTransitElev.SetAng. Size
M 40 (Winnecke 4)9.657h18m+78°59’16.66″
M 45 (Pleiades)1.2014h45m22h45m+67°12’49.24″6h46m+1°50’00.00″
C 9 (Cave Nebula)7.7017h54m+74°21’00.71″+0°40’00.00″
C 41 (Hyades)0.5016h09m23h25m+58°57’08.09″6h41m+2°45’00.00″
Cr 39 (α Per Cluster)1.2022h25m+87°51’15.81″+5°00’00.00″
Cr 359 (Taurus Poniatovii Cluster)3.006h41m12h57m+45°57’51.62″19h14m+6°00’00.00″
PGC 3589 (Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy)8.6016h53m19h58m+9°32’44.91″23h02m+0°22’49.50″
NGC 55 (String of Pearls)7.8717h05m19h12m+4°09’25.66″21h20m+0°19’00.00″
NGC 1039.8019h23m+75°28’38.10″+0°02’30.00″
NGC 1296.5019h28m+76°35’49.75″+0°10’30.00″
NGC 1339.4019h29m+73°27’13.64″+0°03’30.00″
NGC 1469.1019h31m+73°31’14.76″+0°03’00.00″
NGC 1479.5019h31m+88°08’43.47″+0°10’30.00″
NGC 1859.2019h37m+88°17’46.72″+0°10’51.00″
NGC 188 (Polarissima Cluster)8.1019h47m+51°35’14.22″+0°07’30.00″
NGC 1898.8019h37m+75°42’08.31″+0°02’30.00″
M 1108.078h26m19h38m+84°47’20.05″6h50m+0°16’27.00″
M 328.088h52m19h40m+83°58’37.30″6h29m+0°07’30.00″
M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)3.448h41m19h40m+84°22’35.63″6h39m+2°05’24.00″
NGC 225 (Sailboat Cluster)7.0019h41m+75°02’37.57″+0°06’00.00″
NGC 247 (Burbidge Chain)9.1115h15m19h45m+22°26’27.79″0h14m+0°14’09.00″
NGC 253 (Sculptor Galaxy)8.0015h41m19h45m+17°55’25.73″23h49m+0°17’09.00″
On 15 December 2021, Source: Stellarium.org

Bright nebulae

NameMag.RiseTransitElev.SetAng. Size
M 45 (Pleiades)1.2014h42m22h43m+67°13’57.38″6h43m+1°50’00.00″
C 9 (Cave Nebula)7.7017h52m+74°21’32.87″+0°40’00.00″
NGC 1432 (Maia Nebula)3.8814h41m22h42m+67°18’57.66″6h43m+0°50’00.00″
NGC 1435 (Merope Nebula)4.1814h43m22h42m+67°00’58.39″6h41m+0°30’00.00″
NGC 1555 (Hind’s Variable Nebula)6.5015h43m23h18m+62°38’12.53″6h52m+0°00’30.00″
NGC 1909 (Witch Head Nebula)8.0018h28m23h58m+35°12’00.00″5h28m+2°00’00.00″
M 42 (Great Orion Nebula)4.0018h50m0h31m+37°41’46.19″6h12m+1°15’00.00″
NGC 20237.8218h43m0h38m+40°49’01.86″6h32m+0°09’00.00″
NGC 2409 (Firsse 213)7.3021h41m2h28m+25°50’48.45″7h15m+0°16’00.00″
NGC 2467 (Skull and Crossbones Nebula)7.1022h52m2h48m+16°37’20.81″6h44m+0°07’30.00″
NGC 6888 (Crescent Nebula)7.405h04m15h06m+81°28’22.06″1h08m+0°15’00.00″
NGC 6992 (East Veil Nebula)7.006h57m15h51m+74°52’51.86″0h44m+3°15’00.00″
NGC 7000 (North America Nebula)4.0015h53m+87°27’32.10″+1°50’00.00″
NGC 7023 (Iris Nebula)6.8015h55m+68°42’20.59″+0°09’00.00″
NGC 7380 (The Wizard Nebula)7.2017h42m+78°42’07.82″+0°22’30.00″
IC 348 (ο Per Cloud)7.3013h44m22h40m+75°16’22.78″7h37m+0°10’00.00″
IC 405 (Flaming Star Nebula)6.0014h58m0h14m+77°27’31.08″9h30m+0°40’00.00″
IC 4317.6718h38m0h36m+41°37’08.69″6h34m+0°06’30.00″
IC 4326.9818h39m0h37m+41°34’28.71″6h35m+0°10’00.00″
IC 4347.3018h43m0h37m+40°34’56.21″6h30m+0°35’00.00″
IC 4447.5017h20m1h15m+66°21’47.48″9h10m+0°06’00.00″
IC 4484.4818h54m1h30m+50°20’55.19″8h06m+0°12’30.00″
IC 1396 (Elephant’s Trunk Nebula)3.5016h33m+79°21’40.84″+0°08’00.00″
IC 1805 (Heart Nebula)6.5021h29m+75°24’03.71″+1°00’00.00″
IC 2177 (Seagull Nebula)6.9720h42m2h01m+32°35’24.65″7h19m+0°20’00.00″
IC 50765.6915h50m+89°25’55.17″+0°07’00.00″
IC 5146 (Cocoon Nebula)7.2016h48m+89°30’46.44″+0°12’00.00″
On 15 December 2021, Source: Stellarium.org

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