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“Skygaze: Moon has close encounter with Jupiter”

The moon will soon reach its full phase and will have a brief encounter with Jupiter on December 21 and 22 of this week.

At 9pm GMT on 22 December, the chart displays the view towards the south from London. The moon will be in its waxing gibbous phase, with 82% of its visible surface lit up. In the constellation of Aries, the ram, Jupiter will appear as a shiny object with a magnitude of –2.7. This celestial duo can also be spotted in the northern sky from the southern hemisphere.

This week also brings, happily, 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 moment of the solstice is 3.27am GMT on 22 December.

At 8.01am GMT, the sun will appear over London, and it will set again at 3.53pm GMT, providing approximately seven hours, 49 minutes, and 41 seconds of direct sunlight. The days immediately before and after the solstice will only be slightly longer. In the southern hemisphere, this will be the longest day.

Source: theguardian.com