As the calendar flips to a new year, the night sky brims with bright stars, planets, and a potential meteor shower to help you celebrate.
Tour 15 of the sky's brightest stars all in one night on this New Year's Eve! This interactive Worldwide Telescope video will show you the way.
Crescent Venus, ever thinner and lower in twilight, dives toward the Sun. Jupiter and Saturn bide their time. The bright winter constellations fill the east after dark. Mars and Antares pair up at dawn.
Venus presents a stunning crescent at dusk before switching over to the morning sky early next month. After dodging the Moon for the Geminids, it's dark skies all around for the Quadrantid meteor shower.
Dramatic Venus is becoming a dramatically thinner, larger crescent the southwestern twilight. A few people can even resolve the crescent naked-eye. Saturn and Jupiter stay lined up behind it. And the bright winter constellations officially come into their own with the turning of the solstice.
Comet Leonard switches from low in the dawn to low in the dusk this week; you'll need those binocs. The Venus-Saturn-Jupiter line slides westward. And the high full moon of December rides across the sky in Taurus, at the top of the ecliptic.
While the Jupiter-Saturn-Venus line keeps shrinking, all kinds of deep-sky sights, naked-eye to telescopic, show themselves on these moonless evenings.
The Solar Orbiter mission will fly past Earth Friday night, setting up a dramatic sunward plunge.
Orion now rises in the east around 8 p.m. Will Betelgeuse or Rigel be the first of his bright stars to come up? That depends on your latitude; Los Angeles and Atlanta are balance points. The Pleiades and Aldebaran watch this scene from high above.