Tonight the Moon will be exhibiting a waxing gibbous phase with about 90% of the lunar disk illuminated. You can find the Moon in the east at sunset.
Christian Doppler was born on this date in 1803. This physicist described the Doppler shift that occurs with sound and with light from stars.
Looking to the southeast around 10 pm tonight you will see the constellation Orion the Hunter. Orion will be visible earlier in the evening, as we get closer to the winter season.
Looking east around 6 pm tonight you will find a small tight group of stars named the Pleiades. This is an open star cluster that formed within the last 100 million years and is over 400 light years from the Earth.
First quarter moon occurs tonight at 5:03 pm. The line that separates night and day on the Moon is called the terminator. Look along this line for the best views of the lunar surface.
Look south tonight around 6 pm and you will find the Moon in the constellation Capricornus. This is one of the oldest of the 88 constellations astronomers use which comes from the Sumerian culture.
Tonight Mercury will reach its greatest eastern elongation. This will be your best chance to see the elusive planet. Tonight you will find Mercury about 6° above the western horizon 45 minutes after sunset.
The average distance to the moon is around 240,000 miles. The Apollo spacecraft took 3½ days to reach the moon.
Looking to the southeast around midnight you will see Sirius, the Dog star. It is the brightest star in the night sky as viewed from Earth and is hotter than the sun!
The moon will be at apogee today which is when the Moon will reach its greatest distance from Earth. For the current lunation that distance is 406,132 km.