Starwatch Blog for the week of December 2, 2019
This week in the sky the farthest First Quarter moon occurs, the International Space Station makes a good appearance, and the three brightest planets still shine bright.
On December 4th, 2019, the farthest First Quarter Moon of 2019 occurs. This will be the most distant one, at 250,990 miles away. This is occurring because the First Quarter Moon aligns closely with the lunar apogee. The moon rotates around the Earth in an elliptical path, not a circular one. A lunar apogee is when the moon is at its farthest point from Earth.
The International Space Station flies over a few times, but the best once this week occurs on Sunday, December 8, 2019. Look in the northwest sky at 6:40 p.m. For about 3 minutes, the ISS will glide towards the NNE. This view is considered good since the max height the ISS will reach is 37 degrees above the horizon. (Remember the length of your fist is about ten degrees.)
Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter continue to shine in the early night sky. You can catch these spectacular planets in the southwest sky just after sunset. They all set below the horizon a few hours after sunset.