2023 is a great year to watch the meteor showers!
Get ready to mark your calendars for some astronomical delights in 2023! With International Dark Sky Week coming up from April 15 to 22, it's the perfect time to appreciate the night sky and take advantage of the new moon for stargazing.
Meteors, or shooting stars, are small pieces of debris that burn up as they enter Earth's atmosphere. There will be four meteor showers worth watching out for in 2023, according to Ben Burress, staff astronomer at Chabot Space and Science Center.
What are the meteor showers to watch for in 2023?
In 2023, there will be four meteor showers worth watching out for. They are as follows:
- Lyrids Meteor Shower
- Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
- Perseids Meteor Shower
- Geminids Meteor Shower
Lyrids Meteor Shower
The Lyrids will peak on April 22, producing about 20 meteors an hour. With a moonless night, it's the perfect time for a light show.
Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
On May 6, the Eta Aquarids will produce around 60 meteors per hour, but be aware that the full moon that night may impact visibility.
Perseids Meteor Shower
Occurring on August 12 and 13, the Perseids will produce 50 to 100 meteors per hour with a relatively new moon, meaning there won't be much moonlight to disrupt the view.
Geminids Meteor Shower
On December 13 and 14, the Geminids will produce up to 120 meteors per hour, with a moonless night making it worth watching out for.
How to watch meteor showers?
Finding a dark spot away from city lights is key to successful stargazing. Places like Henry W. Coe State Park in the South Bay, Skyline Boulevard in Oakland, and Mount Tamalpais and Point Reyes in Marin County are great options for optimal conditions.
Other national parks like Pinnacles National Park, Death Valley, and Yosemite also offer less light pollution. Joining a free telescope viewing at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland or joining an astronomy club can also enhance the experience.
Supermoons will gaze upon the skies on July
Supermoons appear slightly larger and brighter than a regular full moon, making them an awe-inspiring sight. There will be four supermoons to look out for in 2023, starting with the buck moon on July 3, followed by the sturgeon moon on August 1, the blue moon on August 31, and the harvest moon on September 29.
Annular solar eclipse
The annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023, is a rare sight that shouldn't be missed. During the eclipse, the moon will be a little bit further away in its orbit than during a total solar eclipse, creating a "ring of fire" effect.
While the Bay Area won't be in the path of totality, we'll still see a partial eclipse where the sun will be notably dimmer outside. It's important to use solar-filtered eyewear designed for solar viewing when observing an eclipse.
Tips for photographers
For those interested in astrophotography, understanding which camera suits your needs is important. A basic SLR or mirrorless camera with a good wide-angle lens and the ability to take long exposure shots is ideal for high-quality images. Considering what the Xiaomi 13's camera can do, if you have a cell phone with a 2023 release date, you can capture every second of this visual feast like a professional photographer.
For those not ready to make an investment, most camera phones with night mode functions can take decent photos of the night sky. It's important to use a camera mount or tripod for long exposures, and timing matters when capturing certain events like the Milky Way or the Perseids.Advertisement
“The grand agents of nature are indestructible.”
— James Prescott Joule, FRSE, FRS (1818 – 1889)
“I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we CAN suppose.”
— John Burdon Sanderson Haldane, FRS (1892 – 1964)
(“Possible Worlds and Other Papers,” 1927, P. 286)
“The good thing about science is that it’s true,
whether or not you believe in it.”
— Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson