Sky watch meteors and full moon

 

Meteor shower (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Meteor shower (Photo courtesy of NASA)

New Year’s Eve fireworks kept sky watchers engrossed as TV stations moved across the world to different time zones and countries Dec. 31, 2022.

Then nature followed with the Quadrantids meteors. Begun Dec. 28, it peaks pre-dawn Jan. 3 to Jan 4 in 2023. Their “parent” is the Asteroid 2003 EH from the defunct constellation Quadrans Mualis.

They seem to radiate from a point east of Ursa Minor (The Little Dipper) but can be seen anywhere in a clear sky. The problem will be the moon which will be waxing gibbous on its way to full illumination Jan. 6.

For best time to watch and where in your region check TimeandDate Quadrantids

Next looking up, is a Mircromoon. Called the Wolf Moon, January’s full moon is considered a Micromoon because it appears smaller due to its orbit which takes it far from Earth (as opposed to a Supermoon which appears large because it is close to Earth).

The January 2023 full moon reaches full illumination at 5 p.m. CST Jan. 6,  but will appear full the day before and day after. Some Native Tribes have called it the Wolf Moon because wolves tend to howl more in January.

Read more about the January moon’s names in The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

 

Sky Watch: Partial solar followed by full lunar eclipse and meteorites

Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly the southern part of South America, the afternoon of April 30 you won’t be seeing a partial solar eclipse live. But you can watch online and you will be getting updates from news channels.

According to Space.com, you can see this solar event on the YouTube channel of the India-based  Gyaan ki gareebi Live .  It will begin broadcasting the eclipse at  1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT).

Of course you know a solar eclipse happens when the moon’s orbit sends the sphere between the sun and earth. You can become more informed on this particular eclipse at Time and Date and at Time and Date’s Partial Solar eclipse coverage.

The partial solar eclipse is also the forerunner of a lunar eclipse happening May 15-16 in both hemispheres. Time and Date has a good map and timetable of the area covered.

In the Chicago area watch the lunar eclipse on May 15th from its very early onset at 8:32 p.m. through May 16 at 12:55 a.m. Chicago’s Adler Planetarium has a good description of what to expect.

For full moon observers, this is the Flower Moon. and yes, it coincides with the lunar eclipse. For more information visit the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

If that isn’t enough, May also hosts the peak of the Eta Aquarids. The meteorites peak with up to 50 meteorites per hour May 5-6 in 2022 although they have already started. They are named for their radiant (where they seem to emerge) at the constellation Aquarius.

Happy sky watching!

.

 

April full moon Pink in name only

April's Full Moon is the Pink Moon ( J Jacobs photo)
April’s Full Moon is the Pink Moon ( J Jacobs photo)

Start seeing what looks like a full moon on Friday. Full moons tend to look full just before their date and the day afterwards.

In 2022, April’s full moon reaches total illumination at 1:55 p.m. EDT on Saturday the 16th and will continue to appear full on Sunday. It is not a SuperMoon. The moon will appear to be larger the morning of April 19 when it will be at its perigee (closest to Earth) at 11:14 EDT.

Known as the Pink Moon, the April full moon derives its name from the season when pink creeping (moss) phlox bloom and not from an atmospheric moon color.

As with other full moon names, it echoes what is happening in nature so other names range from Breaking Ice Moon to Awakening Moon.

March’s full moon, which fell before the Spring Equinox was called the Worm Moon when worms emerge in early Spring.

But the March and April Full Moons can be the Paschal Moon depending on when the full moon falls: before or after the Spring Equinox.

The Paschal Moon is often used to determine the Easter date. So, the moon in March or April can be called the Paschal Moon. Visit the Old Farmer’s Almanac for more information on the Spring Equinox and April Full Moon. Also see Time and Date on How Easter is Determined.

The April full moon is also the Pesach Moon for the Jewish feast of Passover which begins at sundown April 15 and is celebrated with Seders on the first two evenings. Paschal is a Latinized word for Pesach.

For more Full Moon info visit NASA Solar System Exploration.

December full moon heralds winter

 

Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)
Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)

Don’t be surprised if a bright light wakes you this weekend. The December full moon rises very high in the sky opposite the sun at 10:36 p.m. CST Dec. 18, 2021. But the shining orb looks full and bright Friday through Monday.

In the eastern part of the northern hemisphere the high moon hour is close enough to midnight to be considered a Sunday full moon. Click Moonrise Calculator for time in your area. You can watch for the full moon just before sunset.

The December full moon has several nicknames such as the Long Night Moon and Full Cold Moon because it comes closest to the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21,2021). It marks the start of winter and is the date with the longest period of darkness. The December full moon also has a very high trajectory so it will be in the sky longer.

Other names are the Yule Moon, Winter Moon, Frost Moon and Oak Moon.

Find good source information at EarthSkyNASA Solar System Exploration, TimeandDate and Old Farmer’s Almanac.

 

Harvest Moon says fall is here

 

Full Moon in September is the Harvest Moon. ( J Jacobs photo)
Full Moon in September is the Harvest Moon. ( J Jacobs photo)

You might not have heard of the Sturgeon Moon in August or the Buck Moon in July but chances are you’ve heard of the Harvest Moon that is appearing overhead now in September.

It’s more than just a popular song.

Harvest Moon is the name some cultures, native tribes and farmers have given to the full moon that usually appears mid to late September because it rises when the sun goes down thus giving famers more light to get the crops in.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the September autumnal equinox. In 2021 that comes Sept. 22 when day and night are about equal in length. (It comes in March in the Southern Hemisphere)

You probably noticed that large golden orb already appearing above the horizon. It will be fullest and brightest Sept. 20, about 6:45 p.m. CDT. but will also appear full the following day.

If listening to TV weather reports, you are likely to hear meteorologists referencing the date as the beginning of autumnal fall but adding that meteorological fall began about 3 weeks before the September equinox on Sept. 1.

Autumnal fall ends at  the December Solstice, when astronomical winter begins. but for meteorologists the fall season ends Nov. 30.

Check Time and Date for more more equinox information and go to the Old Farmer’s Almanac for more full moon facts and folklore.

 

 

The Snow Moon

Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)
Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)

According to several astronomy sources it was northeastern native Americans who dubbed February’s full moon the Snow Moon.

Given the amount of snow that covered much of the United States in February, the moon is well named. It’s also called the Storm Moon and Hunger Moon.

That orb will be lighting up the landscape Thursday, Friday and Saturday but best time to view will be Friday night from when it appears above the horizon in the east as the sun sets to midnight when it is overhead.

Some studies mentioned by EarthSky have been done on the relationship of full moons to sleeplessness from the light point of view. Hopefully, scientists will also look at the tidal pull of full moons on sinuses.

More information on the Snow Moon can be found at TimeandDate, NASA and Old Farmers Almanac.