A SUBSTANTIAL festive array of events during December.

A comet before Christmas, bright planets in the morning sky, and a potentially bountiful meteor shower.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen makes its closest approach to Earth during mid-December and there is the distinct possibility that the comet will brighten sufficiently to be seen by the naked eye. At present, the comet can be spotted using telescope or binoculars. During the opening half of December, Wirtanen climbs through the constellation of Taurus, siting itself near to the Pleaides star cluster mid-month, before heading on towards the constellation of Auriga.

Use this address to spot the comet: https://theskylive.com/46p-info#skychart

More advanced observers should find this other address useful:https://theskylive.com/46p-tracker

For any early risers, watch for Venus in the east brightly adorning the morning sky. Just before Christmas, the planet is joined by two others, Jupiter, with the harder-to-spot Mercury nearby just above it on December 21-22.

Finally, December 13-14 sees the Geminid meteor shower peak with 50 to 70 meteors possible per hour to be seen without optical aid after midnight. Scan the south-eastern part of the sky.

Photographs and event information can be sent to me at TheNightSky@themoon.co.uk

Moon phases: New Moon December 7; First Quarter December 15; Full Moon December 22; Third Quarter December 29.

Start of December: Sun rises at 7.55am. Sets at 4.06pm. End of December: Sun rises at 8.18am. Sets at 4.11pm.

Don’t forget to catch me with Tales from the Eyepiece in the Sky at Night magazine and online at skyatnightmagazine.com

Rare Astronomical Sights and Sounds, is available atspringer.com