It often brings me great pleasure to stare at the night sky and observe the subtle movements; the shift of the clouds, the twinkling of the stars, and the clouds shrouding some stars or the moon for a while. I still remember when I was much younger and was stargazing one night, my grandpa pointed out to me the various constellations. All the while as the night sky bustles with activity, we realize the magnitude and greatness of the cosmos and how minuscule we are in front of the grand mechanism of the universe. We are like a tiny speck of dust in this cosmos and while observing the sky we can understand how fortunate we are as a species to be able to observe and understand the universe, however little. This article is for all astronomy enthusiasts, star gazers, and dreamers who love observing the sky. 2023 certainly holds its fair share of celestial delights.
Meteor Showers: A meteor shower is when a number of meteors or shooting stars flash across the night sky, seemingly from the same point. They may be called shooting stars, but they have nothing to do with stars. These small space particles are meteoroids and are literally celestial debris. The meteor showers of the year are as follows:
January 3, 4 - Quadrantids Meteor Shower
April 22, 23 - Lyrid Meteor Shower
May 6, 7 - Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
July 28, 29 - Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower
August 12, 13 - Perseids Meteor Shower
October 7 - Draconids Meteor Shower
October 21, 22 - Orionids Meteor Shower
November 4, 5 - Taurids Meteor Shower
November 17, 18 - Leonids Meteor Shower
December 13, 14 - Geminids Meteor Shower
December 21, 22 - Ursids Meteor Shower
January 6 - Wolf Micromoon: It is the first full moon of the month. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps. This moon has also been known as the Old Moon and the Moon After Yule. In 2023, it is also a Micromoon. The other full moons of the year are:
January 21 - Super New Moon: The Moon will come between the Sun and the Earth, and the illuminated side of the Moon will face away from the Earth. This new Moon takes place close to its perigee, when it's closest to the Earth, making it the year's first new Moon and also a Super Moon. The other new moons of the year are:
March 20 - March Equinox: The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.
April 20 - Hybrid Solar Eclipse: A hybrid solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is almost too close to the Earth to completely block the Sun. This type of eclipse will appear as a total eclipse to some parts of the world and will appear annular to others. The eclipse path will begin in the southern Indian Ocean and move across parts of western Australia and southern Indonesia.
May 5 - Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's partial shadow or penumbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will darken slightly but not completely. The eclipse will be visible throughout all of Asia and Australia and parts of eastern Europe and eastern Africa.
June 21 - June Solstice: The June solstice will occur on 21 June, 20:27 IST, Wednesday. The North Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude. This is the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.
October 14 - Annular Solar Eclipse: An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is too far away from the Earth to completely cover the Sun. This results in a ring of light around the darkened Moon. The Sun's corona is not visible during an annular eclipse. The eclipse path will begin in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Canada and move across the southwestern United States and Central America, Columbia, and Brazil. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout much of North and South America.
October 28 - Partial Lunar Eclipse: A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's partial shadow or penumbra, and only a portion of it passes through the darkest shadow or umbra. During this type of eclipse, a part of the Moon will darken as it moves through the Earth's shadow. The eclipse will be visible throughout all of Europe, Asia, Africa, and western Australia.
December 22 - December Solstice: The December solstice will occur at 8:57 am IST on Friday, December 22. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.
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