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Menopausal Mother Nature

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Moon near Saturn December 25 and 26

Moon near Saturn: Slanted green ecliptic line with 2 positions of moon near Saturn well above horizon.
Look for the waxing crescent moon near Saturn low in the southwest after sunset on December 25 and 26, 2022. Catch the golden light of Saturn early because it sets after 8 p.m. local time. Adding to the scene is the pretty glow of earthshine on the unlit part of the moon. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

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

Moon near Saturn on December 25 and 26

A slender waxing crescent moon is passing Saturn on the evenings of December 25 and 26, 2022. Additionally, the crescent moon will be aglow with earthshine.

Saturn reached its yearly opposition on August 14, 2022. That’s when Earth was passing between Saturn and the sun, placing the ringed planet opposite the sun in our sky. Now Earth has moved on in its smaller, faster orbit around the sun, and Saturn is no longer visible all night.

So, in December 2022, we in the Northern Hemisphere are seeing Saturn low in the southwestern sky at nightfall (it’s northward, or closer to overhead, as seen from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere). And, in late December, Saturn sets a little after 8 p.m. local time … that’s the time on your clock no matter where you are on the globe.

However, Saturn has faded a bit from its maximum brightness for the year, which occurred around the time of opposition in August. But the planet is still shining at a bright +0.8 magnitude, making it as bright or brighter than the brightest stars.

Even small telescopes will reveal Saturn’s glorious rings. Plus, with a telescope, you might catch a glimpse of one or more of Saturn’s 83 moons.

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

Saturn is in the constellation Capricornus

Saturn is currently located in the dim constellation Capricornus the Sea-Goat. The moon can lead you to Saturn, and then Saturn can help you find the faint constellation Capricornus. However, Capricornus will be difficult to see in the evening twilight.

By the way, Capricornus is one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac. Because its stars are only 3rd and 4th magnitude, it’s too dim to see except under dark skies. However, this constellation has a distinctive shape – that of an arrowhead – making it is easy to pick out if your sky is dark.

Bottom line: Look for a slender waxing crescent moon near Saturn on the evenings of December 25 and 26, 2022. Saturn is in the dim constellation Capricornus the Sea Goat.

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

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