The Moon is rapidly approaching fullness and this week it will make a passing encounter with Jupiter on December 21-22.
The map shows the view due south from London at 9 p.m. GMT on December 22. The moon will become gibbous (increasingly larger) with 82% of its visible surface illuminated. Jupiter will be a bright object, shining with a magnitude of around -2.7 in the constellation Aries, the ram. The pair will also be visible from the southern hemisphere, where they can easily be seen in the northern sky.
This week also, fortunately, brings the winter solstice for those in the northern hemisphere – the shortest day of the year – and the summer solstice for those in the southern hemisphere. The exact time of the solstice is 3:27 GMT on December 22.
The sun will rise over London at 8:01 a.m. GMT and set again at 3:53 p.m. GMT, giving approximately seven hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds of direct sunlight. The days on either side of the solstice will only be a measly second or less longer. In the southern hemisphere, this will be the longest day.