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Moon near Crown of Scorpius December 21

Moon and labeled trio of stars near horizon at bottom of slanted green ecliptic line.
On the morning of December 21, 2022, a very thin waning crescent moon floats in the predawn twilight amid the stars representing the top of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. This little trio of stars is sometimes called the Crown of Scorpius. The beautiful glow you see on the unlit portion of the moon is called earthshine. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

Our charts are set mostly for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view from your location, try Stellarium Online.

Moon near Crown of Scorpius

On the morning of December 21, 2022, watch for the waning crescent moon to pair up with the three stars known as the Crown of Scorpius. These stars marks the head of Scorpius the Scorpion.

If you look about 40 minutes before sunrise, more of Scorpius is above the horizon, possibly including the bright red star Antares, considered the Scorpion’s Heart.

Available now! 2023 EarthSky lunar calendar. A unique and beautiful poster-sized calendar showing phases of the moon every night of the year! Makes a great New Years gift.

Moon, with 4 labeled stars in upper part of Scorpius.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Dennis Chabot in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, caught the February 6, 2021, waning crescent moon near the Crown of the Scorpion in the constellation Scorpius. The brightest star here is Antares, the Scorpion’s Heart. Thank you, Dennis!

Stars in the Crown of Scorpius

When it’s entirely above the horizon – as it will be before dawn a month or so from now – Scorpius the Scorpion is one of the easiest constellations to see in the sky. That’s because it resembles a large fishhook or J-shaped figure. The hook in the J is the Scorpion’s Tail. The Crown of the Scorpion or Scorpion’s Head is on the opposite end of the constellation from the Tail. It’s a slightly curved arc of three stars: Acrab, Dschubba, and Fang.

The upper part of the Scorpion – Antares at the Heart, and the three stars at the Crown – have a true gravitational connection in space. They’re all part of a grouping of young stars known as the Scorpius–Centaurus Association. These stars were likely born together from a single cloud of gas and dust in space, and they still move through space of our Milky Way galaxy in a loosely associated group.

By the way, the middle star of the Crown – Dschubba – is a very intriguing star. It’s a well-known variable star whose brightness you can easily follow with the unaided eye. At its brightest, it can really change the appearance of Scorpius. However, Antares is also variable, so at times Dschubba can almost rival red Antares in brightness!

Bottom line: A very old waning crescent moon joins the three stars that make up the Crown of Scorpius on the morning of December 21, 2022. The lovely glow on the moon is earthshine.

For more great observing events in the coming weeks, visit EarthSky’s night sky guide

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