On this “solstice eve”, the Moon rides high in the south, to the right of Jupiter. Looking to the northeast, a pair of stars is rising, the Twins of Gemini, with Castor, the higher of the two, almost one third of the way up in the east-northeast by 8 o’clock, while his twin brother by a different father, Pollux, twinkles brighter below his brother.

Winter Solstice occurs late this evening at 10:27 PM EST, with our shortest day and longest night of the year. The longest night starts with an excellent arrangement of the waxing Gibbous Moon emerging from the twilight with Jupiter to its right near 4:30 PM in the east-southeast. They dominate the evening sky as they progress to due south by 7:40 PM, more than halfway up from the horizon.

Jupiter and the waxing Gibbous Moon again enjoy the spotlight this evening, though you’ll note the Moon has slid to the left of Jupiter, due to its orbit around the Earth. Even so, they are conspicuous in the southeast by 4:30 PM, and find their way to due south by 8 o’clock, about two-thirds of the way up from the horizon.