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Stunning meteor showers, full moons and eclipses will light up the sky in 2023.
It is certain that the year of heavenly things in the feasts is heavenly joy.
A comet discovered in March 2022 will make its closest approach to the sun on February 12, according to NASA. The comet, spotted by astronomers using a transit facility at the Palomar Observatory in Zwicky County, San Diego, California, is named C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and will make its closest transit of Earth on February 2.
Comets should be visible through binoculars in the morning skies for sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere, mostly in January and those in the Southern Hemisphere in early February, according to NASA.
INTERACTIVE: The best space pictures of 2022
On any given day, it’s always good luck to be flying overhead with the International Space Station. And if you ever want to know which planets appear in the morning or evening sky, check out the old Farmer’s Almanac calculator.
Here are the other 2023 sky highs, so you may want to get your binoculars and telescopes ready.
Most years there are 12 full moons — one for each month. But in 2023, there will be 13 full moons, with two occurring in August.
The second full moon in one month is known as a blue moon, as it is called once in a blue moon, according to NASA. Typically, full moons occur every 29 days, while most months in our calendar are close to 30 or 31 days, so months and moon phases do not always match. This happens in a blue moon about every 2.5 years.
The two full moons in August can also be considered supermoons, according to Earthsky. Definitions of supermoon can vary, but 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 — closest approach to Earth’s orbit. By this definition, the full moon for July must also be considered a supermoon event, according to Earth-sky.
Here is a list of full moons for 2023, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac;
- January 6: Wolf Moon
- February 5, the snow moon
- March 7: Worm moon
- April 6, pink moon
- May 5, flower of the moon
- June 3, Classic 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 popular names associated with the full moon months, each one carries its own meaning across the United States (with many also being called by different names).
There will be two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses in 2013.
A total solar eclipse will occur on April 20, which will be visible in Australia, South Asia and Antarctica. Such an event occurs when the moon moves between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun.
And for some observers in parts of Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea, it will actually be a hybrid solar eclipse. The curvature of the Earth’s surface can shift some eclipses 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 in an annular eclipse — but it happens when the Moon is at or near its last point from Earth, according to NASA. This causes the moon to appear smaller than the sun, so that it does not completely block our star, and creates a glowing circle around the moon.
A Western solar eclipse will occur in the approaching annular hemisphere on October 14 and will be visible across North, Central and South America.
Be sure to bring your own eclipse glasses to view solar eclipses safely, as sunlight can damage the eye.
Meanwhile, a lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon, when the sun, earth, and moon are colored and the moon passes into the Earth’s shadow. When this happens, the Earth casts two shadows of the moon during the eclipse. Partial outer shade is called penumbra; A full, dark shadow is a shadow.
When the full moon enters the shadow of the earth, it darkens, but it does not disappear. But sunlight passing through the Earth’s atmosphere illuminates the moon brightly, causing it to turn red — which is why the event is often referred to as a “blood moon.”
Depending on the weather in your area, it may be rusty or reddish brown. This happens because blue light undergoes more atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color as the sun passes through our atmosphere and projects onto the moon.
A 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 passes through the penumbra, or the faint, outer part of the Earth’s shadow.
A partial lunar eclipse on October 28 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 are not completely aligned, and only part of the moon passes into shadow.
The new year will kick off with a meteor shower that is expected to peak overnight between January 3 and 4 for those in North America, according to the American Meteor Society.
It is the first of 12 meteor showers per year, although the next, the Lyrid meteor shower, does not peak until April.
Here are the peak times of other rains to observe in 2023.
- Lyrids: April 22-23
- Age of Aquariids: May 5-6
- Southern della Aquariids: 30-31 July
- Alpha Capricornids: July 30-31
- Perseids: August 12-13
- Orionides: Oct
- Southern Taurids: Nov. 4–5
- Northern Taurids: 11-12 Nov
- Leonidas: Nov
- Geminids: December 13-14
- Ursids: December 21-22
If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive the city lights out of the city. If you are able to find an area unaffected by light pollution, meteors could be seen every couple of minutes from late evening until dawn.
You will find an open area with a great view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look straight up. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for your eyes and your eyes to adjust to the darkness — without looking at your phone! — so the meteors will be more easily spotted.
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