Watch the night sky for these celestial events in 2023

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 NASA. Spotted by astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, the comet is called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and will make its closest pass to Earth on Feb. 2.

According to NASA, the comet should be visible through binoculars in the morning sky for most of January to stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere and early February for those in the Southern Hemisphere.

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 ever want to know which planets are visible in the morning or evening sky, take a look The calculator from the old farmer’s almanac.

Here are the rest of the top events in the sky in 2023, so you can have 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, two of which will be in August.

The second full moon in a month is known as a blue moon, as the phrase “once in a blue moon,” according to NASA. Usually, full moons occur every 29 days, while most months in our calendar are 30 or 31 days long, so the months and moon phases don’t always match. This results in a blue moon approximately every 2.5 years.

The two full moons in August can also be considered supermoons, he says EarthSky. Definitions of a supermoon can varybut the term generally denotes a full moon that is brighter and closer to Earth than usual 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. By that definition, the full moon for July will also be considered a supermoon event EarthSky.

Here’s 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: Flower moon
  • 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 popular names associated with the monthly full moon, each has its own significance among the Native American tribes (many of which are also referred to by different names).

There will be two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses in 2023.

A There will be a total solar eclipse on April 20, visible to humans in Australia, Southeast Asia and Antarctica. This kind of event happens when the moon moves between the sun and the earth and blocks the sun.

And for some skywatchers in Indonesia, parts of Australia and Papua New Guinea, it will actually be a hybrid eclipse. The curvature of the Earth’s surface may cause some solar eclipses to shift between total and annular as the moon’s shadow moves across the globe, according to NASA.

Similar to a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth during an annular eclipse — but it happens when the moon is at or near Earth’s farthest point, according to NASA. This makes the moon appear smaller than the sun, so it doesn’t completely block our star and creates a glowing ring around the moon.

An annular solar eclipse in the Western Hemisphere will occur on October 14 and will occur visible in North, Central and South America.

Be sure to wear good eclipse glasses to see solar eclipses safely, as the sunlight can be harmful to the eye.

Meanwhile, one lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned and the Moon moves into Earth’s shadow. When this happens, the Earth casts two shadows on the Moon during the solar eclipse. The partial outer shadow is called the penumbra; the full, dark shadow is the umbra.

When the full moon enters the Earth’s shadow, it will darken, but it will not disappear. Instead, sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere dramatically illuminates the moon, turning it red — which is why this event is often referred to as a “blood moon.”

Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it can be rusty or stone-colored red. This happens because blue light undergoes stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color highlighted when sunlight passes through our atmosphere and casts it onto the moon.

Watch the night sky for these celestial events in 2023

A There will be a penumbral lunar eclipse on May 5 for people in Africa, Asia and Australia. This less dramatic version of a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves through the penumbra, or the faint outer part of Earth’s shadow.

A partial lunar eclipse on October 28 will be visible to people in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, parts of North America and much of South America. Partial solar eclipses occur when the sun, Earth, and moon are not completely aligned, so that only part of the moon is in shadow.

The new year begins with the Quadrantid meteor shower, which is expected to peak in the nighttime hours between January 3 and 4 for people in North America, according to the American Meteor Association.

It’s the first of 12 meteor showers throughout the year, though the next one, the Lyrid meteor shower, doesn’t peak until April.

Here are peak data other showers to watch in 2023:

  • Lyrids: April 22-23
  • Eta Aquariids: May 5-6
  • Southern Delta Aquariids: July 30-31
  • Alpha Capricornids: July 30-31
  • Perseids: August 12-13
  • Orionids: October 20-21
  • Southern Taurids: November 4-5
  • Northern Taurids: November 11-12
  • Leonids: November 17-18
  • Geminids: December 13-14
  • Ursids: December 21-22

If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive to a place that is not littered with city lights. If you can find an area unaffected by light pollution, meteors may be visible every few minutes from late evening until dawn.

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Have a chair or blanket so you can look upright. And give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes to get used to the darkness – without looking at your phone! – so that the meteors are easier to spot.



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