Watch the night sky for these celestial events in 2023
Watch the night sky for these celestial events in 2023
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Stunning meteor showers, full moons and eclipses will light up the sky in 2023.
The year is sure to be a delight for sky watchers with plenty of celestial events on the calendar.
A comet discovered in March 2022 will make its closest approach to the sun on January 12, according to NASA. The comet, spotted by astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, is named C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and will make its closest approach to Earth on 2 February.
According to NASA, the comet should be visible through binoculars in the morning sky for sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere through most of January and those in the Southern Hemisphere in early February.
INTERACTIVE: The best space photos of 2022
On any given day, there is always a good chance that the The International Space Station flies overhead. And if you’ve ever wanted to know which planets are visible in the morning or evening sky, check it out The Old Farmer’s Almanac calculator.
Here are the rest of the top sky events of 2023, so you can get your binoculars and telescope ready.
Most years, there are 12 full moons, one for each month. But in 2023, there will be 13 full moons, with two moons in August.
The second full moon in a month is known as a blue moon, like the phrase “once in a blue moon,” according to NASA. Full moons typically occur every 29 days, while most months in our calendar are 30 or 31 days long, so months and moon phases don’t always line up. This results in a blue moon about every 2.5 years.
August’s two full moons can also be considered supermoons, they said EarthSky. Definitions of a supermoon may varybut the term generally denotes a full moon that is brighter and closer to Earth than normal, and thus appears larger in the night sky.
Some astronomers say the phenomenon occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth in orbit. According to this definition, the July full moon will also be considered a supermoon event, according to EarthSky.
This is the list of full moons for 2023, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac:
- January 6: Wolf Moon
- February 5: Snow Moon
- March 7: worm moon
- April 6: Pink moon
- May 5: Moon of flowers
- June 3: Strawberry Moon
- July 3: Buck moon
- August 1: sturgeon moon
- August 30: Blue Moon
- September 29: Harvest Moon
- October 28: Hunter’s Moon
- November 27: beaver moon
- December 26: Cold Moon
While these are the popularized names associated with the monthly full moon, each has its own meaning throughout the Native American tribes (with many also referred to by different names).
There will be two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses in 2023.
A The total solar eclipse will occur on April 20, visible to those in Australia, Southeast Asia, and Antarctica. This type of event occurs when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun.
And for some sky watchers in Indonesia, parts of Australia and Papua New Guinea, it will actually be a hybrid solar eclipse. The curvature of Earth’s surface can cause some eclipses to shift between total and annular as the moon’s shadow moves across the globe, according to NASA.
Like a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth during an annular eclipse, but it occurs when the moon is at or near its farthest point from Earth, according to NASA. This makes the moon appear smaller than the sun, so it doesn’t completely block our star and creates a bright ring around the moon.
An annular solar eclipse spanning the Western Hemisphere will occur on October 14 visible in North, Central and South America.
Be sure to wear proper eclipse glasses to view solar eclipses safely, as sunlight can be harmful to the eye.
Meanwhile, a Moon eclipse it can only occur during a full moon when the sun, Earth, and moon line up and the moon passes into Earth’s shadow. When this happens, the Earth casts two shadows on the Moon during the eclipse. Partial outer shade is called penumbra; the full, dark shadow is the shadow.
When the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, it darkens, but it will not disappear. Instead, sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere illuminates the moon dramatically, turning it red, which is why the event is often referred to as a “blood moon.”
Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it can be a rusty red or brick color. This happens because blue light undergoes stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color that will stand out as sunlight passes through our atmosphere and onto the moon.
A The penumbral lunar eclipse will occur on May 5 for those in Africa, Asia and Australia. This less dramatic version of a lunar eclipse happens when the moon moves through the penumbra, or the dim, outer part of Earth’s shadow.
A partial lunar eclipse on October 28 it will be visible to those in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, parts of North America and much of South America. Partial eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon do not completely align, so that only part of the Moon is in shadow.
The new year kicks off with the Quadrantid meteor shower, which is expected to peak overnight Jan. 3-4 for North America, according to the American Meteor Society.
It’s the first of 12 meteor showers throughout the year, although the next one, the Lyrid meteor shower, doesn’t arrive until April.
Here are the peak dates other rains to see in 2023:
- Lyrids: April 22-23
- Eta Aquariids: from May 5 to 6
- South Delta Aquariids: July 30-31
- Alpha Capricornids: July 30 to 31
- Perseids: August 12-13
- Orionides: October 20-21
- Southern Taurides: November 4-5
- Northern Taurides: November 11-12
- Leonidas: November 17-18
- Gemini: December 13-14
- Ursids: December 21-22
If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive somewhere that isn’t full of city lights. If you can find an area unaffected by light pollution, meteors could be visible every two minutes from dusk to dawn.
Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look up. And give your eyes 20-30 minutes to adjust to the dark, without looking at your phone! – so the meteors will be easier to detect.
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