Approaching the winter solstice, these are the shortest days. In fact, the earliest sunsets of the year occur before the winter solstice! In Chicago, the earliest sunsets are happening now. From December 3 to December 13, the sun sets at 4:19 pm.
This is our season of lights– holiday lights, streetlights, the lights of peoples’ phones. In the lighted windows, amid the flickering images on flat-screen TVs there may also be a decorated tree, bright with angels and colored lights.
But on a clear cold night, it is the stars above the trees and houses that are the true lights of the season. The Big Dipper lies low in the northeast. High over the southern horizon are the winter constellations– Orion, Taurus, Auriga, Perseus, Cassiopeia, Gemini, and Canis Major. You can read a post about Orion, here.
The new moon on December 7 is a waxing crescent now. Look for it in the early evening sky, a sliver in the southwest against the dusk at 4:30. Look for it in the dark indigo sky before it sets at 7:26 on December 10.
On December 11, the moon will set at 8:22 pm. You can find more times and dates for Chicago here.
On December 21, the day of the winter solstice, the moon will be almost full. It will rise just after sunset at 4:40 pm.
May you be filled with the wonder of the season. Wishing you love and light!