10 amazing events you won’t want to miss in 2023

Anyone who enjoys stargazing is in for an exciting year. That’s because, in 2023, you’ll be able to see everything in the night sky from stunning meteor showers to one of Earth’s planetary neighbors in contrast. In addition, there will also be supermoons and even a spectacular ‘Ring of Fire’.

Let’s get straight to it. Here are 10 amazing stargazing events to put on your calendar for 2023.

Lyrida meteorite

Star trails during the Lyrid meteor shower in Herefordshire, UK, April 2020

Photo: Lavinia Lawson/Shutterstock.com

1. Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks

April 22–23

The Lyrid meteor shower will be visible from April 16 to 25, but its peak will begin around 10:30 p.m. local time on April 22, according to Space.com. However, the show will continue as the evening continues.

During this peak, you can expect to see about 18 meteors per hour, at speeds of 29 miles per second, according to NASA. Even better, fast and bright meteors often leave behind glowing dust trails that are visible for several seconds.

Named after the constellation Lyra because that’s where streaked meteors seem to come from, the Lyrid meteor shower occurs every year in April when Earth passes through the debris trail of a comet called C/1861 G1 Thatcher, discovered on 5 April 1861. The comet takes 415 Earth years to revolve around the sun.

shooting star

Eta Aquarid Meteor Show

Photo: Malachi Jacobs/Shutterstock.com

2. Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower Peaks

May 5-6

You’ll have plenty of time to watch the Eta Aquarid meteor shower because it occurs between April 15 and May 27. The best viewing, however, will be during the peak of the shower late on May 5 and early on May 6, Space.com explains.

The meteors will travel at speeds of about 41 miles per second, according to the American Meteor Society. During the peak of the shower, you can expect to see between 10 and 30 meteors per hour.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower occurs every year when Earth passes through the space debris left behind by Halley’s comet, which takes about 76 years to orbit the sun. The shower takes its name from Eta Aquarii, the brightest star in the constellation Aquarius – where the meteors appear to come from.

red tinted full moon

Full Moon Back

Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

3. Full Moon, Supermoon

July 3rd

The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not circular, it is elliptical. Although the distance between the Moon and Earth varies throughout the month and even the year, the average distance is about 238,855 miles, according to NASA.

Since the Moon has an elliptical orbit, there are times when it is closer to Earth than others. The point in the Moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth is called perigee. When the Moon is full at this point, it is called a supermoon because it appears 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than other full moons.

Interestingly, there is no official definition of how close the Moon must be to Earth to be considered a supermoon, but most sources use about 225,000 miles as a benchmark.

On July 3rd, the Moon will be full at 7:39 am. eastern time, according to Rural Almanac.

Since the Moon will be 226,209 miles from Earth at that time, it will also be a supermoon, according to the Full Moon phase.

4. A Second Full Moon, Supermoon

August 1st

Interestingly, the next full moon will also be a supermoon. The Moon, which becomes full at 2:32 p.m. eastern time on August 1 of this year, has been called by the fishing tribes the Sturgeon Moon because big fish are easier to catch in August. Rural Almanac explains.

The full moon will be even closer to Earth this month. On August 1, the Moon will be 223,455 miles from Earth, explains Full Moon Phase.

Perseid meteor shower

Perseid meteor shower

Photo: kesterhu / Shutterstock.com

5. Perseid meteor shower peaks

August 12–13

One of the reasons so many people enjoy the Perseid meteor shower is that it lasts from July 14th to September 1st. It peaks this year on August 12 and early the next morning, when summer nights are warm and comfortable for stargazing.

In rural locations where the sky is dark, you can expect to see between 50 and 75 meteors per hour, explains the American Meteor Society. Many will leave behind long-lasting “awakenings” of light and color as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere.

The Perseid meteor shower, which NASA calls the “best meteor shower of the year,” occurs every August when Earth passes through debris left by a comet called 109P/Swift-Tuttle. It was discovered in 1862 independently by Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle. Interestingly, Comet Swift-Tuttle takes 133 years to orbit the Sun.

The Perseids are named after the constellation of the hero Perseus.

6. Saturn in opposition

August 27

When a planet is in opposition, the Earth is directly between that planet and the sun — so the planet will be the closest and brightest of the year.

On August 27, Saturn will not only be brighter than at any other time of the year, but will be visible all night. That said, it will reach its highest point in the sky around midnight local time, according to In-the-Sky.

This will be the best time in 2023 to see Saturn, the second largest planet in our solar system. If the sky is clear and you’re using a medium-power telescope, you’ll be able to see Saturn, its rings, and even some of its largest moons, such as Titan. Interestingly, Titan is larger than Earth’s moon and is also larger than the planet Mercury, NASA explains.

7. Full Moon, Supermoon, Blue Moon

August 30

There are about 29.5 days between each full moon, making it unusual for two full moons to occur in a month with 30 or 31 days. When this happens, it is colloquially called a “blue moon” because it is rare, although the Moon will not actually appear blue.

What’s even more interesting is that this full moon is also another supermoon — and this time it will be even closer to Earth. On August 30, the Moon will be 223,338 miles from Earth, explains Full Moon Phase.

black and white image of solar eclipse, black circle surrounded by fiery ring

Solar eclipse

Photo: Leo Ablett / Shutterstock.com

8. Annular Solar Eclipse

October 14

On October 14, 2023, if annular — Latin for “ring” — the solar eclipse will create what’s called a “Ring of Fire” effect. It will be visible in a path about 125 miles wide that stretches from Oregon to Texas and then to Mexico, Central America and South America, according to NASA.

Unlike a total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely blocks our view of the Sun because it is directly between the Sun and the Earth, an annular solar eclipse occurs as the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth in its farthest orbit. from the earth. Because the Moon is so far from Earth at this point, it appears smaller than at other points in its orbit, which means it doesn’t obscure the Sun enough. Instead, a thin outer band — or ring — of the sun will still be visible from Earth.

During the annular solar eclipse, the Moon will cover only about 90 percent of the Sun, according to the American Astronomical Society. The other 10 percent of the Sun will be visible as a “Ring of Fire.”

In the US, the annular solar eclipse will be visible in Oregon at 9:13 AM. Pacific time, before visibility ends in Texas at 12:03 p.m. Central Time, NASA explains.

The Milky Way during the Leonid meteor shower as a shooting star passes by

A single shooting star passes through the Milky Way during the Leonid meteor shower.

Photo: J nel/Shutterstock

9. Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks

November 17

The Leonid meteor shower is known for its fast meteors, which travel through the Earth’s atmosphere at 44 miles per second. While the meteor shower is active from November 3rd to December 2nd, it will peak on November 17th and early November 18th. You can expect about 15 meteors per hour.

Here’s what makes the event even more exciting: The Leonid meteor shower is known for its “fireballs and shepherds of the Earth,” according to NASA.

Fireballs are large “bursts of light and color” that are visible for longer than an average meteor. Land shepherds, which have colorful tails, got their name because they spread low on the horizon.

We see the Leonid meteor shower every year when Earth passes through debris left behind by the periodic comet Tempel-Tuttle, officially known as 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. The comet takes just over 33 years to orbit the Sun.

Gemini meteor shower.

Gemini meteor shower

Photo: KorArkaR / Shutterstock.com

10. Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks

December 13–14

While the Geminid meteor shower occurs between November 19 and December 24, it will peak on December 13 and early December 14, Space.com explains. You can expect to see up to 120 meteors per hour, traveling at speeds of 22 miles per second, NASA notes.

In addition to the sheer number of meteors, Gemini is considered the best meteor shower of the year because the meteors are visible all night long. What’s even better, if you have kids and grandkids — or just don’t want to stay up late — the meteors start to become visible around 9 or 10 p.m. local time, NASA explains.

We usually see meteor showers when the Earth passes through debris left by a comet in space, but this is not the case with the Gemini meteor shower. Instead, we see the meteors every year in December, when Earth passes through the meteors left by an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid, which is 3.2 miles in diameter, takes 1.4 years to orbit the sun.

The Gemini meteor shower gets its name because its meteors appear to originate near the constellation Gemini.

While you’re thinking about it, be sure to check out all of our star tracking content.

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