Most of North America gets to see the Moon blot out Antares Thursday night.
The long drought of lunar bright star occultations ends this week, as the Moon meets the bright star Antares. This event is one of the best bright star versus the Moon occultations for 2023, and is a harbinger for a series of new occultations of the star once every pass, as the Moon swings through Scorpius the Scorpion every lunar synodic period or 29.5 days.
Don’t miss one of the best meteor displays of 2023, as the Perseids peak this coming weekend.
Grab a lawn chair, bring a friend, a red light and lots of bug spray: the August Perseids are active this week going into the weekend. You won’t want to miss ‘em if skies are clear, as 2023 is a banner year for the Perseids, one of the sure-fire performers when it comes to meteor showers.
The time to catch Comet T4 Lemmon is now, before it vanishes for another 36,000 years.
Often, icy interlopers creep up on the inner solar system, only to once again vanish into the abyss. Such is the case with long-period comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon, headed towards perihelion early next week.
Amazing views from Earth and space of this week’s rare hybrid solar eclipse.
This week’s solar eclipse didn’t disappoint, as eclipse chasers flocked to the path Thursday on April 20th, for some amazing views. This was a rare hybrid solar eclipse, with an annular path along one part of the track, and totality along another. Only seven such eclipses occur this century.
The two brightest planets pass less than half a degree apart at dusk during a spectacular conjunction on the night of March 1st.
It has begun. Once every 12 to 18 months or so, I start fielding “what are those two bright objects in the sky?” questions. They’re none other than the third and fourth brightest natural objects in the sky (behind the Sun and the Moon), the planets Jupiter and Venus. If skies are clear, you can see them get ever closer together from one night to the next, as they meet up during a spectacular conjunction on the night of March 1st/2nd.
Now’s the time to catch periodic Comet 96P Machholz on its encore dawn performance, before it slides out of view.
So, have you been following the touted ‘green comet,’ E3 ZTF? To be sure, it’s nothing more than a fuzzy patch, a binocular comet sliding through the constellation Auriga looking like a globular cluster that refuses to resolve into focus. Though E3 ZTF may not live up to the hype, it does have one thing going for it: it is currently well-placed for northern hemisphere viewers. It also put on a great show for astrophotographers as it recently completed an orbital plane-crossing, as seen from our Earthly vantage point.
The first good comet of the year, Comet E3 ZTF is a fine object for northern hemisphere observers in January.
As in years previous, 2023 kicks of with another decent binocular comet.
If you haven’t seen C/2022 E3 ZTF yet, you’ll soon have your chance. Discovered by the Zwicky Transient Survey searching for supernovae, E3 ZTF was first spotted as a +17th magnitude object gliding through the constellation of Aquila the Eagle on the night of March 2nd, 2022.