Comet Neowise

There are many great astronomical events that take place each year.  Here are the highlights for 2023:

  • January 3-4: Quadrantids Meteor Shower (40/hr, best after midnight, from near Bootes.  Full moon won't help this year.)
  • January 30: Best view of Mercury! Catch the hottest planet just above the eastern horizon just before sunrise.
  • April 11: Another good view of Mercury! If you don't have a good view of the eastern horizon, then check out Mercury above the western horizon just after sunset.
  • April 20: Hybrid Solar Eclipse: Sorry, but it won't be visible here....
  • April 22-23: Lyrids Meteor Shower (20/hr, best after midnight, from Lyra. The this crescent moon will set early, providing a great view.)
  • May 5: Lunar Eclipse: Once again, the universe snubs us, as this eclipse also won't be visible to us in MI.
  • May 6-7: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower (30/hr from Halley's Comet, best after midnight, from Aquarius.  The full moon will block many of the fainter ones, though.  This is a Saturday night, so if you are ready to open your lake house, shut off the lights and watch the skies!)
  • May 29: Best view of Mercury! Catch the hottest planet just above the eastern horizon just before sunrise.
  • June 4: Best view of Venus, as it will be at its highest point in the evening sky.
  • July 28-29: Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower (20/hr, best after midnight, from Aquarius, with another full moon to ruin the show.)
  • August 10: Another good view of Mercury! If you don't have a good view of the eastern horizon, then check out Mercury above the western horizon just after sunset.
  • August 12-13: Perseids Meteor Shower (60/hr, best after midnight, from Perseus.  The crescent moon and historically warm weather will allow for quite the show this year.)
  • August 27: Best view of Saturn. This is the closest approach the ringed planet makes to the Earth, so get out your telescope and enjoy.
  • September 19: Best view of Neptune.  This is the closest approach Neptune makes to the Earth, but you'll need a telescope to see this faint blue dot.
  • October 7: Draconids Meteor Shower (10/hr, best in early evening (which is unusual for showers), from Draco.  The second quarter moon should get out of the way.)
  • October 14: Annular Solar Eclipse: FINALLY, we get one! While the true annular eclipse will only be visible in the western states, we can enjoy a partial eclipse with about 50% coverage in MI! If you don't have them yet, get some solar eclipse glasses and filters prior to this event, and save them for the 2024 event!
  • October 21-22: Orionids Meteor Shower (20/hr, best after midnight, from Orion, and the first quarter moon will set just after midnight, offering a decent show this year.)
  • October 28: Another lunar eclipse misses us.
  • November 3: Best view of Jupiter. This is the closest approach the gas giant planet makes to the Earth, so get out your telescope and enjoy. Even a small set of binoculars will show you several of Jupiter's moons.
  • November 4-5: Taurids Meteor Shower (5-10/hr, best after midnight, from Taurus (look for the red "eye"), but the fsecond quarter moon will block a lot of the fainter ones.)
  • November 13: Best view of Uranus. Easiest way to find this is to bend over and look between your legs. Seriously, though, look for a blue-green dot in your telescope.
  • November 17-18: Leonids Meteor Shower (15/hr, best after midnight, from Leo -- with a crescent moon that gets out of the way.)
  • December 13-14: Geminids Meteor Shower (120/hr, best after midnight, from Gemini -- a new moon won't present any issues. Bundle up for this one, as clear skies often come with really cold nights!)
  • December 21-22: Ursids Meteor Shower (5-10/hr, best after midnight, from Ursa Minor -- the waxing gibbous moon will likely wash this out, so stay in, stay warm, and enjoy your Christmas!)

Get more details about each of these events from this Astronomy Calendar.

In preparation for these heavenly shows, please turn off or dim your lighting, especially the large outdoor lights that light up the entire lake. Better yet, consider boxing your exterior lights! See the International Dark-Sky Association's web site for information and for suggestions on replacing your lighting with fixtures that provide light but still preserve the darkness for others.

 

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