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The astronomer told what celestial phenomena can be observed this year KXan 36 Daily News

Date: March 27, 2023 Time: 13:48:10

February March

Many people wonder how far the Neanderthal comet – the green-tailed one, which could be seen in late January – early February – reached. And when can we see her again? Now in 50 thousand years, and this is not very accurate, because our giant planets can affect their trajectory. When it last flew, only Neanderthals admired it. Now comet C/2022 E3 is moving further and further, but there will be many other events.

On February 23, already half an hour after sunset in the southwest, the sky will be decorated with Venus, Jupiter and the young month. They will line up in a line and shine majestically in the sky.

In March, there will be a very close approach to the dazzling beauty of Venus and Jupiter. Venus in its brightness will surpass the not weak Jupiter by almost six times.

April May

In early April, a rare chance: in the rays of the setting sun, you can find Mercury, which will be at the maximum distance from our star. And April 20 is a rare hybrid solar eclipse. Depending on the point of observation, it will look full or ring-shaped. But to see it you have to go to Australia, New Zealand or Thailand. The eclipse takes place in a narrow strip 200-300 meters wide. This is the shadow of the Moon on the Earth’s surface, and where on the planet the shadow point will extend – that one is lucky.

On the night of April 22-23, the peak of the first spring meteor shower will come – our planet will fly into the Lyrid meteor shower. This is a column of dust left behind by Comet Thatcher. You can see up to 18 meteors per hour, and sometimes up to 90. The comet makes one revolution around the Sun in 415 years. The last time it came close to the luminary was in 1861. Now we have to wait for it in 2276. Therefore, in our time, the meteor shower is not so generous. In general, this is one of the oldest observed streams, even the Chinese mentioned it in their annals. In 687 BC they wrote: “The stars fell like rain.”

People often worry about whether meteor showers are causing damage. We meet with them every year, and we are still alive. There is no organic matter, no gases, and no large debris. It is fine dust, and even very low density. It flies into the atmosphere at high speeds, up to 80 kilometers per second, and burns up. We are protected by the planet’s atmosphere. Rarely, rarely does a pebble make it to the surface.

That is why we can safely expect another shower on May 6 and 7, the Eta Aquarids or May Aquarids, these meteors are characterized by fast and long trails. They are generated by the famous Halley’s Comet, which used to inspire fear with its glowing tail. Density – 50-70 meteors per hour. As a rule, they are observed after midnight, in the morning. Like Yesenin: “Dawn. Blue. Early. And the grace of flying stars. Make a wish. Yes, I don’t know what to wish for.” You can enjoy the show and make wishes. The main thing is not to forget that in early May there will be another opportunity to see the bright Venus, Jupiter and the moon.

June July August

June 21 – new moon, the moon does not light up the sky and far from the city you can see a lot of cosmic beauties, since it is hot. After midnight, the closest galaxy to us, M31, or the Andromeda Nebula, rises in the northeast. It is at an unimaginable distance from us: 2.5 million light years. The light we see originated in the days when there were no people on Earth. It’s impossible to know what it looks like now, and this is true of all deep space objects. How many stars are there? 2.5-5 times more than in our Milky Way. “The stars are innumerable, the abyss is bottomless…” If you point your telescope at the Canis Hounds constellation, you can see the Whirlpool Galaxy. It is almost flat towards us, so you can see some spectacular spiral arms.

On the night of July 29-29, the South Delta Aquarids meteor shower from the constellation Aquarius reaches its maximum. The maximum number does not exceed 20, that is, a meteor can fall every three minutes. Well, not rich either.

August is a fertile month for an amateur astronomer: it is hot, the weather is stable. The Perseids will bring a lot of pleasure – this is the plume of the Swift-Tuttle comet. The peak will be on August 12 and 13. There is only a crescent moon in the sky, and the light from our satellite will not interfere. The atmosphere will burn up to a hundred meteors per hour. This is the brightest meteor shower this year. Meteors, as a rule, fly in the morning, have long trails, in a few seconds.

August 27: Saturn’s closest approach to Earth. It can be seen in the early morning hours in the southwest, not far above the horizon. This year we were lucky, Saturn’s rings are well unfolded, they will be visible through a telescope, but sometimes there is only a thin thread. You can also consider the satellite of the planet – Titan. And on the night of August 30 to 31, a Supermoon awaits us. When a huge, bright Moon rises over the horizon, panic often sets in: “Oh, why is it so big?” But it’s easy to explain. The moon does not move in a circle, but in an ellipse, and when the point of its orbit closest to Earth and the full moon coincide, the satellite appears ten percent larger than usual. This is celestial mechanics, and our atmosphere gives the Moon an unusual color.

September October

September 19 The giant planet Neptune will approach Earth. It will be visible in the constellation of Pisces. But with the naked eye it is impossible to do this, and in the telescope – a small blue disk.

October 9 – Dragonborn Peak. This meteor swarm is not very generous either, about ten meteors per hour. But from time to time there are sharp gusts, and the “stars” fall at several hundred per hour. A meteor storm cannot be ruled out, when the number of flashes exceeds a thousand per hour, or even ten thousand. This already happened in 1899, 1933 and 1946.

On October 21-22, another sight is the fall Orionids meteor shower. We will approach the orbit of Halley’s Comet for the second time, not with itself, but with the trajectory along which the particles that once separated from its nucleus hurtle through space. The Orionids enter our atmosphere at about 66 kilometers per second and their trails are bright white.

November December

Jupiter will approach us on November 3. It can be observed through a telescope all night. The planet will rise in the afternoon in the east, at midnight – low in the south. You will see a powerful atmosphere, bands of clouds and a phenomenal whirlwind – “eye of a hurricane”. It has been stable for several centuries, although now this red stain is not as intense as it was in Halley’s time. There is incredible wind speed! Near Jupiter, its largest satellites are visible – bright spots on both sides of the planet.

November 14: Uranus will reach opposition. He is so far away that you will also have to arm yourself with a telescope.

On November 17-18, the peak of the Leonid current, these are the remnants of the Tempel-Tuttle comet. In 2019-2020, there were meteor storms, real stellar showers fell on Earth, up to several thousand tracks of fire per hour. This comet approaches the Sun once every 33 years, the real show will be repeated in 2031. Now the Leonids are fainter, but they are still interesting to observe. We can fly into the dense part of the stream, and then the show will be wonderful.

On December 14, Earth will enter the Gemenid meteor swarm, whose progenitor is the asteroid Phaeton. The weather is no longer conducive to observations, but still raise your head and stand for half an hour in the cold – up to 150 meteors per hour can shine in the sky.

Of course, there are also unpredictable events. Our civilization has existed for a very short time, we have seen little. Yes, and it is impossible to keep track of all the events that happen in space.

By the way

From September to the end of March, you can search for the Northern Lights. You have to go beyond the Arctic Circle. It will be clearly visible in the vicinity of Murmansk, Khibiny, Arkhangelsk, Vorkuta and Khatanga. Depends on the Sun’s activity, the luminary is now at the waxing peak of its 11-year geo period. The chances of seeing the Northern Lights in all their splendor are much higher.

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.

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