Look up at the night sky to see these celestial events in 2023

Look up at the night sky to see these celestial events in 2023
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Impressive meteor showers, full moons, and eclipses will light up the sky in 2023.

The year is sure to be a skygazers delight with many celestial events on the calendar.

A comet discovered in March 2022 will make its closest approach to the sun on January 12, according to POT. The comet, detected 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 pass to Earth on February 2.

The comet should be visible through binoculars in the morning sky to skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere during most of January and those in the Southern Hemisphere in early February, according to NASA.

INTERACTIVE: The best space photos of 2022

On any given day, there is always a good chance that the The International Space Station is flying overhead. And if you ever want to know which planets are visible in the morning or evening sky, check out The old farmer’s almanac calculator.

Here are the rest of the major sky events of 2023, so you can have your binoculars and telescope at the 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 occur in August.

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

The two full moons in August can also be considered supermoons, according to Earth Heaven. Definitions of a supermoon can varybut the term generally denotes a full moon that is brighter and closer to Earth than normal, and therefore appears larger in the night sky.

Some astronomers say the phenomenon occurs when the moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to orbiting Earth. By that definition, the July full moon will also be considered a supermoon event, according to Earth Heaven.

Here 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: 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 meaning in Native American tribes (with many also referred to by different names).

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

A 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 the Earth, blocking the sun.

And for some skywatchers 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 POT.

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 that will sweep the Western Hemisphere will occur on October 14 and will be visible in North, Central and South America.

Be sure to wear proper eclipse glasses to safely view solar eclipses, as sunlight can damage your eyes.

Meanwhile, a lunar eclipse it can occur only during a full moon when the sun, Earth, and moon align and the moon passes into Earth’s shadow. When this happens, the Earth casts two shadows on the Moon during the eclipse. Partial outer shadow is called penumbra; the full, dark shadow is the umbra.

When the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, it darkens, but does 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-colored. 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 hurls it at the moon.

A total lunar eclipse appeared in the skies of Canta, east of Lima, on May 15, 2022.

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 occurs 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 don’t completely align, so only part of the moon goes into shadow.

The new year kicks off with the Quadrantids meteor shower, which is expected to peak in the nighttime hours between January 3 and 4 for those in 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 peak until April.

Here are the peak dates of other showers to see in 2023:

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

If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive somewhere that isn’t plagued by city lights. If you can find an area that is not affected by light pollution, the meteors could be visible every two minutes from late afternoon until 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! — to make meteors easier to spot.

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