One of the twelve annual meteor showers, the Quadrantids, marks the beginning of the new year.
The heavenly occasion is normally among the most grounded meteor showers and is supposed to top for the time being January 3 and 4, as per the American Meteor Society. The shower is best observed by Northern Hemisphere skygazers between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
In any case, the shower is famously difficult to see because of its concise pinnacle of six hours and January’s many times harsh climate in the Northern Side of the equator. This year, the Quadrantids will be even less visible due to a bright moon that will be nearly full.
Moonset will happen not long before day break, giving a tiny window to recognize the shower against dim skies.
The peak of the shower is predicted to occur between 10:40 p.m. and 1:40 a.m. ET (3:40 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. GMT). Observers in the eastern part of North America benefit more from the later time, while those in Europe benefit more from the earlier time. Because the radiant point of the shower does not rise that high in the sky before dawn, the Quadrantids will not be visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
If you want to know your chances of seeing the event, check the Time and Date website or go outside to see for yourself. A live stream of the shower over Rome will also be available on the Virtual Telescope Project.
What you’ll see
Between 50 and 100 meteors are typically visible every hour, especially in rural areas; however, the highest number of meteors that can be seen in an hour can be up to 120.
Keep an eye on the sky to the northeast, about halfway up. During the meteor shower, you might even catch a glimpse of some fireballs. The American Meteor Society recommends spending at least an hour looking up into the sky.
If you live in a big city, you might want to take a car to a place where there aren’t many bright city lights. Assuming you’re ready to find a region unaffected by light contamination, meteors could be apparent each a short ways from late night until sunrise.
Find a space that is open and has a good view of the sky. If you want to look straight up, make sure you have a chair or a blanket. And if you don’t look at your phone, give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness so the meteors are easier to see.
If the name of the meteor shower sounds strange, it probably doesn’t sound like it comes from a constellation like other meteor showers do. This is due to the fact that the named constellation of the Quadrantids no longer exists, at least not as a recognized constellation.
According to EarthSky, the constellation Quadrans Muralis, which was first observed and noted in 1795 between Boötes and Draco, is no longer included on the list of modern constellations maintained by the International Astronomical Union because it is regarded as outdated and is no longer utilized as a landmark for celestial navigation.
The Quadrantid meteor shower, unlike the Geminid, derives from a mysterious asteroid or “rock comet” rather than an unusual icy comet. A single orbit around the sun takes 5.52 years for this particular asteroid, 2003 EH1. Because only a small, perpendicular stream of particles interacts with our atmosphere, the peak of the shower is brief. For a brief period of time each year, Earth travels through this debris trail.
Catch a comet, too
A newly discovered comet, in addition to the meteor shower, will soon be visible in the night sky in January.
According to NASA, the comet, which was discovered in March 2022, will come closest to the sun on January 12. The comet, which was discovered by astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, bears the name C/2022 E3 (ZTF). On February 2, it will come within striking distance of Earth.
NASA says that skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere should be able to see the comet in the morning sky for most of January, and those in the Southern Hemisphere should be able to see it in the beginning of February.
- 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
Full moons and supermoons
Twelve full moons occur each year, one for each month. However, there will be 13 full moons in 2023, two of which will occur in August.
The subsequent full moon in one month is known as a blue moon, similar to the expression “very rarely,” as per NASA. The months and moon phases don’t always coincide because full moons happen every 29 days and most of our months last 30 or 31 days. A blue moon occurs approximately every 2.5 years as a result.
EarthSky says that the two August full moons could also be considered supermoons. The term “supermoon” is used to describe a full moon that shines brighter and is closer to Earth than usual, making it appear larger in the night sky.
According to some astronomers, the event occurs when the moon is within 90 percent of perigee, or its closest orbital approach to Earth. EarthSky says that by that definition, the July full moon will also be considered a supermoon.
- 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
Eclipses of the sun and moon
In 2023, there will be two lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses.
On April 20, people in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Antarctica will be able to see a total solar eclipse. When the moon moves between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun, this kind of thing happens.
It will also be a hybrid solar eclipse for some skywatchers in Indonesia, parts of Australia, and Papua New Guinea. NASA says that as the moon’s shadow moves across the globe, some eclipses can change from total to annular because of the way the Earth’s surface curves.
An annular eclipse, like a total solar eclipse, occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, but NASA says it only happens when the moon is at or close to its farthest point from Earth. Because of this, the moon appears to be smaller than the sun, partially obscures our star, and a glowing ring is formed around the moon.
On October 14, there will be an annular solar eclipse that will cover the entire Western Hemisphere and be visible across the Americas.
Because the sun’s light can be harmful to the eyes, eclipse glasses are necessary to safely observe solar eclipses.
A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, can only occur on a full moon when the sun, Earth, and moon align and the moon enters Earth’s shadow. Earth casts two shadows on the moon during the eclipse when this happens. The penumbra is the partial outer shadow; The umbra is the full, dark shadow.
The full moon will darken as it approaches Earth’s shadow, but it will not vanish. Instead, a “blood moon” occurs when the moon is dramatically illuminated by sunlight that penetrates Earth’s atmosphere and turns it red.
It might be a brick-colored or rusty red, depending on the weather in your area. This is because blue light scatters more strongly in the atmosphere. As sunlight moves through the atmosphere and lands on the moon, red light will be the most prominent color.