Today is the start of a new season. For sky lovers, it promises to be something special.
It’s the autumnal equinox today, when the midday sun is directly above the equator, giving every location on the planet 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. The sun will rise east, follow a right arc along the celestial equator and set west.
As the leaves fall, bright stars rise. Orion is back. The moon is hanging a little higher. In addition to being a great time of year for stargazing, there are six specific stargazing events not to be missed. So take your coat and take it off we go to the night.
Here’s exactly what’s happening in the day and night sky this fall:
1. Jupiter at its closest in 166 years
When: September 26, 2022
On this date the giant planet Jupiter will reach its annual “opposition,” the point in Earth’s orbit when we – in a world that rotates at a faster rate – move precisely at a position between the Sun and Jupiter.
It will be exactly 593.6 million kilometers from Earth at the moment it is encountered, which is Its closest approach to Earth since 1963 And up to 2139, making this The “best” opposition in 166 years An opportunity that only comes once in a lifetime. It will shine with a magnitude of -2.9, making it the brightest thing you can currently see in the night sky after sunset away from the moon.
2. Orionid meteor shower
When: October 21 and 22, 2022
From about 21:00 tonight until the early hours of tomorrow is the peak of the Orionid meteor showers. So keep your eyes peeled (no binoculars or telescope required) for 10-20 “meteors” per hour, which should be visible in a dark, moonless sky, as the waning moon will be only 17% bright and not rise until about 3:30 Morning however the view should be better after midnight.
The Orionid meteor shower is caused by dust and debris left in the inner solar system by Halley’s Comet. Although they can appear from anywhere, the bright spot for a meteorite is the constellation Orion and specifically its red star Betelgeuse.
3. Partial solar eclipse in Eurasia
When: October 25, 2022
Today’s partial solar eclipse is the second and last such event in 2022, the other being on April 30th. It will be visible from Europe, Northeast Africa and Central Asia. At the farthest point in Russia, the Moon will lose 82% of the Sun. From Western Europe about 15-30% will appear eclipsed.
4. America’s “blood moon”
When: November 8, 2022
The final of two total lunar eclipses in 2022 will be visible from North America, but for the last time until 2025. Easily visible from the western and central states of the United States as well as from the Pacific Ocean, Japan, Australia and Russia, during the event the full ‘Beaver Moon’ will turn a mauve color Stunning blush for 84 minutes.
It will not be exceeded until a total of 102 minutes on June 26, 2029. Here’s a simulation what it would look like. You should also be able to see the planet Uranus right above the cratered moon, which will add to the scene.
5. Mars is the brightest planet for 26 months
When: December 7, 2022
Tonight also we see the fourth planet, Mars, reaching the “resistance” once every 26 months. It indicates the point at which Earth is between the Sun and Mars, so the planet is completely lit by the Sun from our point of view. Thus it is at its best of the year, so it is the best time to look at it. As a bonus, it also means that it rises in the east at dusk and stays in the night sky all night long.
6. Mars eclipse with cold moon
When: December 8, 2022
The Moon appears on a planet several times each year, as seen from somewhere on Earth. But the full moon eclipses Mars near its brightest once every 26 months? Now that’s a rare set of circumstances. That’s exactly what happens on December 8, 2022. It’s not something you want to miss.
I wish you a clear sky and wide eyes.