"A Breathtaking Pairing of the Evening Star and the Moon on Christmas Night! and; This Year's Winter Solstice"

Scheduled air date: 2003 Dec 15-21

The brilliant planet Venus is still shining as the "Evening Star," and will be visited by the Waxing Crescent Moon on Christmas evening, December 25th.  Mercury—the planet closest to our Sun—will have become lost in the glare of the Sun by this time.
(Shown about 45 minutes after sunset for mid-Northern latitudes.)

Winter officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere (and Summer in the Southern Hemisphere) on Monday, December 22nd.

At this time, the Sun's path across the sky is at its lowest, or closest to the southern horizon, while the Moon's path is at its highest.

For comparison, the above shows the paths of the Sun and Moon across the sky at Summer Solstice—the beginning of Summer (June 21st).  Note that, relative to Winter Solstice, the Sun and Moon appear to have switched places.
(Positions shown at one-hour intervals for mid-Northern latitudes.  The Moon's symbol in the above illustrations is intended to show the Moon's path and not its phase.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

Copyright 1999-2006 by Software Bisque, Inc.