This is the astronomy calendar for December 2020. Astronomy is the foundation upon which astrology can operate. Actually, astrology and astronomy were treated together, under the Latin name of astrologia, being separated only by the Western 17th century philosophy. One thing is sure: a good astrologer needs to study astronomy.
Sunday, December 13th, Monday, December 14th: Geminids Meteor Shower
The Geminids are considered to be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak. The Geminids are a meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be an asteroid with a „rock comet“ orbit. This would make the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The morning of the 15th could also be nearly as active this year.
Monday, December 14th: New Moon
The New Moon is when the Sun and Moon are aligned, with the Sun and Earth on opposite sides of the Moon. The new moon is the first lunar phase, when the Moon and Sun have the same ecliptic longitude. At this phase, the lunar disk is not visible to the unaided eye, except when silhouetted during a solar eclipse. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
Monday, December 14th: Total Solar Eclipse
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the Sun, revealing the Sun’s beautiful outer atmosphere known as the corona.
This is the second solar eclipse of the year and the only total solar eclipse in 2020. It is visible in South of Africa, much of South America, Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans and also in Antarctica.
Monday, December 21st – December Solstice
This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere. The South Pole of the Earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude.
Monday, December 21st, Tuesday, December 22nd: Ursids Meteor Shower
The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790. The shower is named the Ursids because the meteors seem to radiate from the direction of the constellation Ursa Minor in the sky. The Ursids are associated with the 8P/Tuttle comet. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
The shower runs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd.
Wednesday, December 30th: Full Moon
The full moon is the lunar phase when the Moon appears fully illuminated from Earth’s perspective. This occurs when Earth is located directly between the Sun and the Moon (more exactly, when the ecliptic longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by 180°). This means that the lunar hemisphere facing Earth – the near side – is completely sunlit and appears as a circular disk, while the far side is dark.
December full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Cold Moon, because this is the time of year when the cold winter air settles in and the nights become long and dark. Sometimes this moon is referred to as the Full Long Nights Moon, which is an appropriate name because the nights are now indeed long and the moon is above the horizon a long time.
In Beard’s 1918 book, it is called the Wolves Moon, while in Farmers’ Almanac this is the name given to the January Full Moon. Other names given to this moon were the Moon before Yule, the Big Moon, the Oak Moon and the Cold moon.