Celestial Seasonings – February 2023

By Heather Durham | January 31, 2023

Hi everyone! How are you doing these odd Wintry days. Here I am, writing for February when there’s been no chance for me to snowshoe! … not yet anyway. I’ve been studying phone photography. In the process, I found this amateur photography guide I thought I would share with you along with the date of each New or Black Moon. This means that the skies would be really dark, and dark it needs to be for Astrophotography.

I hope you enjoy the new moon and photography additions. Happy reading and sky watching. Until we meet again next month. …

February 5. Today will have the full Snow Moon.

February 13. The Moon will be at final quarter today.

February 22. Tonight’s sky should be delightful for the Moon along with Venus and Jupiter will all ascend close together towards the right.

February 27. The Moon and Mars will travel together and ascend towards the right.


“At the end of February the zodiacal light (reflection produced by the scattering of sunlight due to particles moving along the entire solar system) also begins to be visible. In the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year, it’s visible to the west, at the end of the astronomical twilight, after Sunset, in the direction of the Sunset. On the contrary, in the Southern Hemisphere it’s visible to the east, before the astronomical twilight begins, before dawn, in the direction of the Sunrise.” PhotoPills.com

(https://www.photopills.com/articles/astronomical-events-photography-guide#step3)

“February 20: New Moon.

The Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, so the bright side of the Moon is facing away from the Earth. The Moon phase is 0% at 07:07 UTC.

The days around the New Moon are great for photographing the night sky.

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you can start hunting the Galactic Center of the Milky Way with your camera! And don’t forget the Magellanic Clouds heading south.

Depending on your latitude, you can see the Galactic Center closest to the horizon (perfect for panoramas). And as you go to latitudes further south, you can photograph it more and more vertical. For example, in New Zealand you can almost capture it completely vertical.

In February, you can also capture the Galactic Center in the Northern Hemisphere: you see it low, near the horizon… although the conditions are not as good as in the Southern Hemisphere. And if you don’t get it, you can always wait until March to start enjoying it.

In the Northern Hemisphere you can also photograph the Orion constellation and the Winter Triangle.

And also during the New Moon, you can capture Star Trails, whose pattern depends on your latitude and the direction to which you point your camera at.” PhotoPills.com

(https://www.photopills.com/articles/astronomical-events-photography-guide#step3).


References:

Unknown (n.d.) Astronomical Events 2023: The Definitive Photography Guide. Retrieved from https://www.photopills.com/articles/astronomical-events-photography-guide

Ford, D.F. (n.d.). December 2022. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

Celestial Seasonings – January 2023

By Heather Durham | December 30, 2023

Happy New Year one and all! Before we begin discussing the new year, let’s travel back to last month for an Artemis update.

The space.com website gives us a brief but informative overview as follows:

NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission, the agency’s first big step toward returning astronauts to the lunar surface, launched to the moon on Nov. 16 on a critical test flight to return astronauts to the moon. It splashed down on Dec. 11.

Artemis 1 is the first test flight of the agency’s new Space Launch System megarocket and the Orion spacecraft. The SLS rocket launched the uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a 26-day mission, during which it will orbit the moon before returning to Earth (Howell, Malik, 2022).

In addition, universe.com gives us a glimpse of what can be expected during this year.

Astronomy 2023 highlights include two fine solar eclipses, the Sun heading towards solar maximum, a series of spectacular lunar occultations and much more.

Been out enjoying the sky in 2022? The past year saw two fine total lunar eclipses, a surprise meteor outburst from the Tau Heraclids, a fine occultation of Mars by the Moon and more. Astronomy 2023 promises more of the same, plus much more” (Flannery, 2022).

Now, let us review January’s events.


January 3. Our Moon and Mars will travel close to each other and rise to the right.

January 4. The Quadrantid meteor shower will be its most prolific today. As well, our Earth will be at its closest point towards the Sun.

January 6. Today brings the full Wolf Moon.

January 12. Mars appears to reverse its direction.

January 14. The Moon will be in its final quarter.

January 19. The γ-Ursae Minorid meteor shower should peak today.

January 23. Mercury will reach its highest place in the sky.

January 24. Mercury will be at half phase and will shine brightly.

January 25. The Moon and Jupiter will rise to the right and orbit close to each other.

January 30. Mercury will be shining brightly as it reaches its greatest separation from the Sun. The Moon and Mars will travel close to each other and rise to the right.


References:

Ford, D.F. (n.d.). December 2022. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

Celestial Seasonings – December 2022

By Heather Durham | December 1, 2022

Happy holidays and winter solstice my friends! Welcome to the final edition of this blog for the year 2022. There is no shortage of meteor showers this month along with a planet that will glow in the evening sky as long as Mother Nature cooperates this time.

Winter solstice is near and as for me, I am happy about it for there is so much to enjoy whether you’re inside or out. I will be out and about as much and as often as possible!

Thanks everyone and enjoy yourselves New Year’s Eve as well!


December 1. The Moon and Jupiter will rise and travel close to each other.

December 6. The December φ-Cassiopeid meteor shower will be most prolific today. Coming from the Constellation Andromeda, the best prospects for viewing will be just before dawn on the 6th, but the brightness of the Moon might interfere.

December 7. The Puppid-Velid meteor shower will occur today, but once again, with the Moon so close to being full, they might not be easily visible. Today, the full Cold Moon should be viewable. The Moon and Mars will travel close to each other and rise to the right.

December 8. Tonight brings a special opportunity to view Mars. Mars will be opposite to the Sun. It will be at its largest and brightest this evening-weather dependent.

December 9. The Monocerotid meteor shower will be on display this evening. Coming from the Constellation Monoceros, this shower should put on its best display just before dawn.

December 12. The α-Hydrid meteor shower from the Constellation Hydra will peak on this date with the best show just before dawn. However, the Moon will be at last quarter and may be a viewing hindrance.

December 14. Today brings the Geminid meteor shower from the Constellation Gemini peaking at its best at 2:00 am.

December 16. The Comae Berenicid meteor shower will put on a show tonight. This one comes from the Constellation Leo may be visible from 11:30 pm the previous evening until the break of dawn. The Cold Moon will be in its final quarter.

December 20. Today brings our December Leonis Minorid meteor shower from Leo Minor. It should begin to be visible near 20:21 and remain active until the break of dawn around 6:35. am.

December 21. Mercury will travel to its furthest extent from the Sun during which time it should be very bright. This day also brings with it the December solstice, occurring as the Sun reaches its furthest southern point in the sky, a.k.a, the first day of winter.

December 22. The Ursid meteor shower from Ursa Minor will be at its peak, close to 17:00.

December 24. Mercury will shine very brightly tonight and will be at its highest in the sky.

December 26. The Moon and Saturn will rise and travel close to each other.

December 29. The Moon and Jupiter will rise to the right and orbit close to each other. The Moon will be at first quarter.


References:

Ford, D.F. (n.d.). November 2022. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

YouTube. (14 November 2022). December 2022 Astronomical Events.Retrieved from https://youtu.be/bahPCu18hEU

Celestial Seasonings – November 2022

By Heather Durham | October 31, 2022

Autumn by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o’er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven’s o’er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer’s prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

November 1. The Beaver Moon will be at first quarter. The Moon and Saturn will rise and travel close to each other.

November 3. NASA will be providing an Artemis update today. (You can listen here: www.nasa.gov/live).

November 4. The Moon and Jupiter will rise to the right together and appear to travel close to each other.

November 8. There will be a total eclipse of the Moon, but our chances of viewing it are not great for the Moon will only be at -2 degrees on the horizon at the time of the beginning of the eclipse. Today also brings the full Beaver Moon.

November 11. Both the Moon and Mars will travel close to each other and seem to rise towards the right.

November 12. Today, the Northern Taurid meteor shower brighten up our evening sky with best viewing occurring around midnight. While normally a minor shower, this year will most likely be different for this particular shower becomes more prolific every 7 years and 2022 is the year. Fireballs may be seen throughout the night sky.

November 16. Our Beaver Moon will be in its final quarter today.

November 17. The Leonid meteor shower from Leo will liven up tonight’s sky. After 6:00 EST, this show will be at its best.

November 21. α-Monocerotid meteor shower from Canis Minor may be visible from 11:30 pm until the break of dawn.

November 23. Jupiter will stop appearing as if it were traveling backwards – commonly referred to as Retrograde. From today onwards, it will appear to travel towards the east.

November 28. The November Orionid meteor shower will be active. The best display should be around 1:00 EST, The Moon and Saturn will rise to the right today.

November 29. The Moon and Saturn will rise together.

November 30. The Moon will be at first quarter. Today will be the best day to view Mars.


References:

Ford, D.F. (n.d.). 2022. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

Now Next. (2022, October 27). November 2022 Astronomical Events. Retrieved from youtu.be/Wixh93aiTo8

Celestial Seasonings – October 2022

By Heather Durham | September 30, 2022

Greetings, my friends and skywatchers!

Autumn has begun. October of this year will bring 7; yes, 7 meteor showers! And, as I’m sure you are aware, the first part of the DART mission was a resounding success. Hurricane Ian is in progress as of this writing and therefore, I am unsure as to the effect it will have on the Artemis mission. More about DART and Artemis in future editions. Now let’s review what we have in the skies this month. …


October 2. The new Moon will be at first quarter.

October 5. The Moon and Saturn will rise to the right and appear to orbit close to each other.

October 6. The October Camelopardalid meteor shower will be active this evening. Even though the Moon is just a few days away from being full, there still could be some good viewing.

October 8. Mercury will be at half phase and will orbit to its greatest elongation west. Both the Moon and Jupiter will rise to the right and appear close to one another.

October 9. The Draconid meteor shower will display today from the Constellation Draco. Mercury will have traveled to its highest altitude in the morning sky. The full Hunters Moon will appear this evening.

October 10. The Southern Taurid meteor shower will be on display this evening coming from the Constellation Cetus.

October 11. Today, will bring the δ-Aurigid meteor shower from the Constellation Auriga.

October 14. The Moon and Mars will closely approach one another.

October 15. The Moon and Mars will appear to rise towards the right in the sky.

October 17. The Moon will be in its final quarter today.

October 18. The ε-Geminid meteor shower will be on display tonight, coming from the Constellation Gemini.

October 21. The Orionid meteor shower will display tonight coming from the Constellation Orion.

October 24. The Leonis Minorid meteor shower will display tonight from the Constellation Leo Minor.

October 30. Mars enters retrograde motion which means that it will appear to orbit westward.


References:

Ford, D.F. (n.d.). 2022. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org.

NASA. (2022, September 20). DART. Retrieved from www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart/dart-news

Now Next. (2022, January 17). Don’t Miss! October 2022 Astronomy Events. Retrieved from youtu.be/SGRlm-8b0zo

Celestial Seasonings – September 2022

By Heather Durham | August 31, 2022

Hi there, folks!

Welcome to the eventful astronomical month of September 2022!

Along with the season of astronomical autumn north of the equator, we have three meteor showers and … if all goes as planned, the Artemis 1 liftoff, scheduled for September 2, will lift off. Unfortunately, the launch, scheduled for August 29 had engine issues and more…

This month’s equinox on the 22nd of the month, brings approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness to the whole planet. It also marks the first day of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, otherwise known as D.A.R.T. will occur on the 26th of this month. This will be the first test of NASA slamming an object the size of a dishwasher into an asteroid, directing it away from Earth. The success of this mission will prevent future asteroids from making contact with Earth and destroying humanity as it did with the dinosaurs.

On September 29, Spacex Crew 5 will send four people to the International Space Station. A few days later, the space crew that has been on the space station will return to Earth. The new crew will perform scientific experiments without gravity.

Wow!!! Now, let’s get into specific event dates …

September 1. Aurigid meteor shower will peak today. Your best chance of seeing any will be close to dawn.

September 3. The Moon will be at first quarter.

September 8. The Moon and Saturn will rise towards the right and will appear close to one another.

September 9. The September ε-Perseid meteor shower event occurs today with ideal viewing before dawn or after dusk today.

September 10. The full Harvest Moon should shine brightly this evening.

September 11. The Moon and Jupiter will rise to the right and appear close to each other.

September 16. The Moon and Mars will travel close to each other and will appear to rise to the right.

September 17. Our Harvest Moon will be in its final quarter.

September 22. Today is the first day of astronomical autumn.

September 26. Jupiter will be opposite of the Sun and should be visible all evening.

September 27. The Daytime Sextantid meteor shower will display this evening with prime viewing near dawn.

References:

Anonymous. (2022, August 29). Artemis. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemis_program

Dunbar, Brian. (2022, August 29). Artemis. Retrieved from www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/

Ford, D.F. (n.d.). 2022. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

Now Next. (2022, January 17). Don’t Miss! September 2022 Astronomy Events. Retrieved from youtu.be/Wixh93aiTo8

Celestial Seasonings – August 2022

By Heather Durham | July 30, 2022

Greetings from Heather and welcome to the August 2022 issue!CS-August 22-1

August is the primary month for the Perseid Meteor Showers as you may or may not remember.  This shower is as colorful as it is prolific!

There will also be the fourth and final Supermoon of this year 2022. This month’s Moon is commonly referred to as the Sturgeon Moon.  

CS-August 22-2I have included several very interesting and informative YouTube videos for you to see, including one specifically for the Perseid Shower. The others tend to go into more depth than I usually do that are just as intriguing as anything I could have written. I do hope that they add to your monthly view of astronomical events. As well, I have added some photos of the shower. (Photos by D.F. Ford).


August 5. The new moon will be at first quarter.

August 11. This will be the fourth Supermoon of 2022, named the Sturgeon Moon. Saturn and the Moon will rise towards the right.

August 12. The Moon and Saturn will appear close to one another.

CS-August 22-3August 13. This month’s major event is the Perseid meteor shower will perform at its peak today, but may be visible before and after this date. The meteors might be colorful. Coming from the Constellation Perseus, the display will happen all through the night.

August 14. Saturn, from the Constellation Capricornus will lie opposite to the Sun. This planetary position is commonly known as opposition.

August 15. The Moon and Jupiter will rise towards the right and will appear close to each other.

Mercury will ascend to its highest altitude in the night sky.

August 19. The Moon and Mars will ascend to the right and appear close to each other. Today will bring the last quarter of the Moon.

August 27. Mercury will have traveled to its furthest point away from the Sun.

August 29. Only half of Mercury will be visible this evening.


References:

Ford, D.F. (n.d.). 2022. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

Now Next. (2022, January 17). August 2022 Astronomical Events. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/sp-Rz5mlQP8

Sky of Stars. (July 2022). Perseid Meteor Shower, August 2022. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/5pL6md_Kr-g

Sky of Stars. (July 2022). Upcoming Astronomical Events August of 2022. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/dC7fvuXOdPM.

Celestial Seasonings – July 2022

By Heather Durham | June 30, 2022

Hi folks! Welcome to another edition of monthly celestial events! This July there we will have our second Supermoon of the year along with three meteor showers on the last two days of this month.

We are now passed the summer solstice with the Sun goes down at about 8:30 pm until after July 2 when we start losing the total amount of Sun each day.

This month’s Buck Supermoon is also known as the Thunder Moon for it’s the month associated with the most thunderstorms.

Until August, have a great holiday this month and continue to enjoy all the treasures that this month has to offer!


July 4. The Earth will be as far away from the Sun as it gets during the Earth’s annual orbit.

July 6. The Moon will be at first quarter.

July 13. Today, is the full Super Buck Moon.

July 15. Both the Moon and Saturn will rise towards the right and appear close to one other.

July 18. The Moon and Jupiter will rise as they appear close to one another.

July 20. Our Buck Supermoon will be in its final quarter.

July 21. The Moon and Mars will travel close to each other as they rise towards the right.

July 28. Jupiter will appear to travel in reverse.

July 29. The Piscis Austrinid meteor shower will peak today.

July 30. Today we have two meteor showers at their peak … the Southern δ-Aquariid [delta-Aquariid] and the α-Capricornid [alpha-Capricornid]. The first one comes from the Constellation Aquarius and the latter from Capricorn.


References:

Ford, D.F. (2022). Astronomy. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

Now Next. (February 2022). July 2022 Astronomy Events. Retrieved from youtu.be/9LVN1AcpLes

Celestial Seasonings – June 2022

By Heather Durham | May 31, 2022

Good day, everyone! Welcome to the month containing our summer solstice. There will be two meteor showers along with a rare arrangement of five planets possibly visible with the naked eye, but even more spectacular with binoculars or access to a larger telescope.

Between the 18th to the 27th or the last two weeks of June, early risers will be able to view a five-planet line passing by a sliver of the final phase of our Strawberry Super-moon. This planet line will consist of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury.

Another more frequent occurrence happens when planets appear to reverse their orbits. They normally appear to head east, but due to the rotation of the earth around our Sun, it only appears as though a given planet may look as though it’s headed west as seen in the diagram below.

Let’s delve in for a deeper look …

Prograde MotionJune 4. Saturn appears as though it’s going backwards because of the rotation of the Earth around the Sun.

June 7. The Strawberry Moon will be at first quarter.

June 10. The Daytime Arietid Meteor Shower will put on a display today. Coming from the Constellation Aries, the best viewing will be just before dawn.

June 14. The Strawberry Super Moon will be full today. A super moon occurs when the Moon passes closer to the Earth.

June 16. Mercury will be as far away from the Sun as it ever orbits.

June 18. The Moon and Saturn will rise and closely approach one another.

June 20. The Moon will be in its final quarter.

June 21. The first day of summer-midsummer will be today in the Northern Hemisphere. The Moon and Jupiter will rise to the right and closely approach one another.

June 22. Mercury will be at its highest point in the sky. Our Moon and Mars will rise and travel close to each other.

June 23. Mercury will be at its highest place in the sky.

June 26. The Moon and Venus will rise and closely approach one another.

June 27. Today is the day of the June Bootid Meteor Shower. Best viewing times will be just before dawn and dusk. This shower is known as being slow and unpredictable.


References:

Ford, D.F. (2022). Astronomy. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org

Now Next. (February 2022). Planet Parade 2022! Must Watch June 2022 Astronomy Events. Retrieved from youtu.be/jERJa4GKTIE

Celestial Seasonings – May 2022

By Heather Durham | April 30, 2022

Welcome to the astronomical event of the year … a full lunar eclipse!  This will create a Blood Moon. Hopefully, our weather will cooperate. Below is a snippet from Wikipedia about this event.

This occurs when the moon falls entirely within the earth’s umbra. Just prior to complete entry, the brightness of the lunar limb – the curved edge of the moon still being hit by direct sunlight – will cause the rest of the moon to appear comparatively dim. The moment the moon enters a complete eclipse, the entire surface will become more or less uniformly bright. Later, as the moon’s opposite limb is struck by sunlight, the overall disk will again become obscured. This is because as viewed from the Earth, the brightness of a lunar limb is generally greater than that of the rest of the surface due to reflections from the many surface irregularities within the limb: sunlight striking these irregularities is always reflected back in greater quantities than that striking more central parts, and is why the edges of full moons generally appear brighter than the rest of the lunar surface. This is similar to the effect of velvet fabric over a convex curved surface which to an observer will appear darkest at the center of the curve. It will be true of any planetary body with little or no atmosphere and an irregular cratered surface (e.g., Mercury) when viewed opposite the Sun. (Wikipedia, 2021, Total Lunar Eclipse).

Lunar Eclipse of May 16, 2022 - Dominic Ford


May 1. New Moon

May 3&4. Earthshine viewing a.k.a the Da Vinci Glow. Earthshine is caused by Sun reflecting off the surface of the Earth and back to the Moon.

May 6. N-Aquariid meteor shower. Our view of this shower, from the Constellation Aquarius may be best viewed just before dawn. These showers originate from Haley’s Comet.

May 8. There will be a n-Lyrid meteor shower today with best viewing, once again, is just prior to dawn. However, the Flower Moon will be at first quarter today and may interfere with shower viewing.

May 16. Today will bring a full Moon and a total lunar eclipse. It will begin at 10:28 pm through 1.55 am.  The total eclipse will be between 11:30 pm until 12.54 am. The Sun, Earth and Moon must be aligned for this to occur. As well, it can only occur with a full Moon and creates a reddish color – a Blood Moon.

May 22. The Moon and Saturn will rise to the right and closely approach one another.  The Moon will be in its final quarter.

May 24. The Moon and Jupiter will closely approach one another while rising to the right. The Moon, along with Mars will do the same on this date.

May 26. The Moon and Venus will rise to the right and orbit close to each other.

May 28. Mars and Jupiter will rise to the right together.

May 29. Mars and Jupiter will orbit close to each other.


References:

Ford, D. F. (2022). Astronomy. Retrieved from https://in-the-sky.org

Now Next. (February 2022). May 2022 Astronomical Events. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/w1BR7UI3SAA.

Now Next. (March 2022). 15-16 May 2022 Total Lunar Eclipse. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/a93ckEDOm00

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