"December 2012 presents a great big plateful of planetary delights, with all five visible planets shining in the night sky this month. Mars and Jupitercome out at evening, but you must be willing to wake up early to catch Venus, Saturn and Mercury in the predawn and/or dawn sky. In their outward order from the sun, the visible planets are Mercury, Venus, (Earth), Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
December starts out with a mighty bang. Jupiter’s encounter with Earth on December 1, 2012 will be the closest until the year 2021. We also check out the veracity of the story claiming that the morning planets – Saturn, Venus and Mercury – will align with the Egyptian pyramids before sunrise on December 3, 2012. That’s only the start of what’s to come this month, as the new moon leaves a dark sky for watching the prolific Geminid meteor shower on the nights of December 12, 13 and 14, and the full Long Night Moon beautifies the night of December 27.
Three planets are readily visible throughout December 2012: Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. Jupiter is moving into prime time, rising in the east around sunset and lighting up the sky all night long. You have to catch Mars as dusk ebbs into nightfall and Mercury as nightfall ebbs into dawn. We’ll tell you more on how to find these planets later.
Venus rises in the east-southeast about about two and one-half hours before sunrise in early December and only about one and one-half hours before sunrise on New Year’s Day 2013. Use Venus, the sky’s brightest planet, to find the other morning planets: Saturn and Mercury. Watch the moon pair up with Saturn before dawn on December 10 and couple up with Venus on December 11!”