Mars marches eastward in Pisces during December. After its retrograde ended last month, the planet slowly began its eastward traverse. Now, the planet rapid strides eastward among the dim stars.
Find the planet high in the southeast after sunset. It has a distinctly reddish color and brighter than other stars in the region. It is south about 8 p.m. CST, approximately 3 hours, 30 minutes after local sunset. By 2:30 a.m. CST, about 4 hours, 30 minutes before sunrise, Mars sets in the west.
At month’s end, Mars is in the south by 2 hours, 30 minutes after sunset. It sets in the west about 5 hours, 30 minutes before sunrise.
On December 1, the planet is near Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc) and 80 Piscium (80 Psc). With a binocular watch the planet move into a dim, tiny triangle of stars made by Zeta Piscium (ζ Psc), ε Psc, and 80 Psc.
As the planet moves away from the tiny triangle, it heads toward the general region of Pi Piscium (π Psc). Look at a wider view as Mars travels toward the Pleiades star cluster. The Red Planet reaches that region during early March.
On December 23, the gibbous moon joins Mars for a nearly all-night trek across the sky.
Watch Mars march eastward during the month of December 2020.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 30, 2021: As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.
December 31, 2021: This morning before sunup, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Mars and the star Antares. Four planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwest after sundown.
December 30, 2021: The morning crescent moon seems to be captured in the Scorpion’s pincers to the upper right of Mars. Four Evening Planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the southwest after sundown.
December 28, 2021: The Great Andromeda Galaxy is nearly overhead at the end of the evening twilight.