Top 10 Astronomical Events for 2023

Happy New Year! I’m starting this year with an astronomy calendar 2023. And on my astronomy calendar are my top 10 astronomical events for 2023! A few qualify as rare astronomical events for 2023 and a few are old favorites. 

Louie is a fan of old favorites! Click to see his happy dance.

ASTRONOMY CALENDAR 2023

JANUARY 3-4, 2023

THE QUADRANTIDS METEOR SHOWER

A meteor is a space rock—or meteoroid—that enters Earth’s atmosphere. As the space rock falls toward Earth, the resistance—or drag—of the air on the rock makes it extremely hot. What we see is a shooting star.

Susan Berk Koch Quadranids Meteor Shower
www.jeffberkes.com

That bright streak is not actually the rock, but rather the glowing hot air as the hot rock hurdles through our atmosphere.

Our astronomy calendar 2023 begins with the Quadrantids.
The quadrantids are one of the most active meteor showers of the year
but usually fall short because of the short span of activity and sub-optimal January weather.
The average hourly rates one can expect under dark skies is 25.
Peak viewing time is 3UTC
A link below converts your time to UTC time!
UTC TIME CONVERTER
That said, it’s better to start observations in the morning, between moonset & sunrise: this way, you’ll get 1-2 hours without the 2-2023 92%-illuminated Moon lighting up the sky.
This shower peaks in early January, when Earth intersects the dust cloud left by asteroid 2003 EH1
Asteroid 2003 EHI
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If you want to delve more into meteor showers, here’s a fun link with graphics on meteor showers dot org. It’s also a great STEM activity!

While some may argue about classifying the quadrantids as a rare astronomical event for 2023, a comet visible to the naked eye definitely is!

Top 10 astronomical events_Ian
A COMET IS A MUST-SEE ASTRONOMICAL EVENT!

FEBRUARY 1, 2023

COMET C/2022 E3 (ZTF) REACHES MAXIMUM BRIGHTNESS

For the record, a comet is a large object made of dust & ice that orbits the Sun. Best known for their long, streaming tails, these ancient objects are leftovers from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Halley Comet_NASA
Comet c/2022 E3 is the only comet that will illuminate enough so we can see it.
Making it a top 10 astronomical event for 2023! Even w/ its hard to remember name.
Admittedly, it would be better if you had a pair of binoculars, but don’t let that stop you from looking for this must-see astronomical event, even if you don’t.
Economical Binocular affiliate link
I’d venture to say that Halley's Comet—officially known as1P/Halley— is more famous than comet c/2022 E3.
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Halley’s Comet is visible from Earth every 75–79 years. It will appear again in 2061.

38 years is a long time to wait!

 

So why not go outside and see a comet in 2023! It’s a great STEM activity for your kids.

Where should you look on February 1??

Top 10 astronomical events in 2023 _Alex
I LOVE STEM ACTIVITIES!
Look in the constellation Camelopardalis.
Yup, I needed to look this up. This constellation is aka the giraffe.
Constellation list
Why is camel in the name if it's giraffe constellation?
Camelopardalis is higher in the northern sky than the north star.
Find the big dipper first. Its tail points to the north star. Then look up.
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CONTINUING WITH OUR 10 COOL ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2023

APRIL 20, 2023

HYBRID SOLAR ECLIPSE

We’ll only have 7 hybrid solar eclipses this century. That qualifies as a rare astronomical event! 

Lucky observers in Australia, Indonesia, and East Timor will witness this unique event at 4:16 GMT.  For your local time, click here for a GMT to UTC converter. The surrounding regions will see a partial solar eclipse.

Must See Astronomical Events 2023_kev
MAP FOR VIEWING THE 4/20/23 HYBRID SOLAR ECLIPSE

A hybrid solar eclipse is the rarest type of eclipse.

WHAT IS A SOLAR ECLIPSE?

So. What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers at least a tiny fraction of the Sun’s surface.
For this to occur, the Sun, Moon, and Earth must be aligned, which means a solar eclipse can take place only during a new Moon phase.
Moon Phases
NEW MOON PHASE
This is the invisible phase of the Moon, with the illuminated side of the Moon facing the Sun and the night side facing Earth. In this phase, the Moon is in the same part of the sky as the Sun and rises and sets with the Sun.
Although the Sun is 400 larger than the Moon, it’s also 400 times farther away.
If the Sun-Moon-Earth alignment is perfect, and the apparent size of the Moon is slightly larger than the Sun’s, then a total solar eclipse occurs.
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As you can see, solar eclipses are only visible to a small area on our planet at a time. If you’re lucky enough to fall under the moon’s shadow, this is a must-see astronomical event!

Look at that perfect alignment of the sun, moon, and earth in this NASA giph!

A total solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest sights. It’s on my bucket list.

In fact, there will be a total solar eclipse in 2024!

I am digressing from my astronomy calendar for 2023, but here's a link with info

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE 2024

TOTAL, ANNULAR, AND PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSES

The average number of total solar eclipses in a century is 66 for Earth as a whole.
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BACK TO THE TOP 10 ASTRONOMICAL EVENTS FOR 2023

All those facts are cool! Takeaway?
# 3 of our top 10 astronomical events for 2023 is that hybrid solar eclipse. April 20, 2023
A hybrid eclipse results when the tip of the Moon’s dark umbral shadow touches Earth’s surface at some points but falls short of the surface at one or both ends of the eclipse centerline.
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MAY 17: LUNAR OCCULTATION OF JUPITER

A lunar occultation occurs when the Moon occults—or covers up another celestial body. 

This unusual celestial event will be visible from parts of Europe and the Americas.  

Louie coat
YAY! I WILL SEE IT & I WON'T NEED MY COAT IN MAY
As with many must-see astronomical events, the lunar occulation is only visible from certain parts of the world.
At 12:40 UTC
UTC conversion chart
The bright planet will disappear behind the almost invisible lunar disc and reappear an hour later.
We won't see the moon occulting Jupiter again until 2026.
Seize the moment to see this rare astronomical event in 2023.
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IS A SOLAR ECLIPSE AN EXAMPLE OF A LUNAR OCCULTATION?

YES!

The disappearance of the sun behind the Moon is an example of a lunar occultation!
Are naps a good thing?
DON'T SLEEP THROUGH IT! FOR MORE ON NAPS, CLICK THE PHOTO.

TOP 10 ASTRONOMICAL EVENTS FOR 2023 con't.

AUGUST 12-13, 2023

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER PEAKS

This is one of my favorite astronomical events! August is warm and we can sit in a hammock and wait for the show!

Perseids
courtesy Petr Horalek
Ian _ Louie hammock_READ
They're starting a little early, but you get the idea!
The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most popular & abundant showers of the year.
It can produce up to 100 meteors per hour.
In 2023, we're fortunate because the Perseids’ peak is 2 days before the New Moon!
Observing conditions are favorable. The evening of August 12 into the 13th. Look NE!
This meteor shower is primarily visible from the Northern Hemisphere
Perseids
Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus.
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AUGUST 27, 2023

SATURN AT OPPOSITION

What is opposition?

Opposition in astronomy means that a planet is opposite the sun.

On August 27, 2023, Saturn, Earth, and the sun will be in a straight line, with Earth in the middle. It’s a must-see astronomical event!

saturn opposition-diagram
SATURN OPPOSITION

So what is the big deal?

Pictures of common backyard birds_Lessie
KEEP READING TO FIND OUT!
Saturn's opposition only happens once a year.
Which is why this makes the top 10 astronomical events for 2023 list!
Opposition provides the best and closest views of Saturn and several of its brightest moons.
The sun sets in the west so look for Saturn rising in the east.
Through binoculars, Saturn will appear as an oval-shaped disc
Price is 27.99, not bad.
binocular affiliate link
A telescope, however, would reveal its rings and moons!
If you just see one moon, that’s Titan. Titan is 50% larger than our own moon.
Titan
If you have a mind, check w/ your local planetarium.
They may be having a public event so you can see Saturn in all its glory. STEM FOR THE WIN!
NOW I'M CURIOUS. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLANET?
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ASTRONOMY CALENDAR 2023 con't.

AUGUST 31, 2023

THE LARGEST FULL MOON OF 2023

A supermoon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time the Moon is full.

Supermoon
SUPERMOON
Supermoon is not an official astronomical term.
A Super Full Moon is 5.9%–6.9% bigger than an average Full Moon
And 12.5%–14.1% bigger than a Micro Full Moon
A micro full moon occurs when the moon is at apogee, or furthest away in orbit.
Moreover, it is going to be a Blue Moon or the second Full Moon in a calendar month.
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THE NEXT MUST-SEE ASTRONOMICAL EVENT FOR 2023

OCTOBER 14, 2023

ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE

YES! Another solar eclipse. Now you can see why I needed to write this post. A 2nd eclipse is #eight of 10 cool astronomy events for 2023.

Mark your calendars. This is a must-see astronomical event!

Rare astronomical events_Types of solar eclipses
RARE ASTRONOMICAL EVENTS IN 2023
PATH OF ECLIPSE OCTOBER 14, 2023
Fortunate observers in parts of the US, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, & Brazil will see the ring of fire, or annulus – the bright ring of sunlight around the Moon.
ANNULUS aka RING OF FIRE
I'm shamelessly excited because Louie & I fall under 40% of the moon's shadow!
We won't see the annulus, but it's still a rare astronomical event for 2023!
The next annular solar eclipse will happen in a year & only be visible from Chile & Argentina.
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NOVEMBER 3, 2023

JUPITER AT OPPOSITION

You already know what opposition is.

moon jupiter and its moons
Jupiter & 4 of its moons
This is significant because being opposite the sun, Jupiter will shine most brightly on November 3 of 2023
It's quite amazing to foucus a pair of binoculars at Jupiter and see the moons!
Your significant other, kids, nieces, nephews, or grandkids will think you're a superstar.
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I keep talking about the binoculars but seeing Jupiter’s moons that first time is astounding.

subscribe Kevin
JUST BUY THE BINOCULARS

JUPITER is the 3rd brightest object in our sky. The moon is # 1

What do you think the second brightest object is?

VENUS!

# 10 OF OUR TOP 10 ASTRONOMICAL EVENTS FOR 2023

DECEMBER 14, 2023

GEMINIDS METEOR SHOWER

Not a rare astronomical event for 2023, but the Geminids are dubbed the king of the meteor showers.

Geminids and the aurora
KING OF THE METEOR SHOWERS = GEMINIDS
The bright Geminids are usually the year's strongest & most reliable meteor shower.
METEOR SHOWER CALENDAR
I missed them in 2022 because of clouds.
BOO
Peak is December 14, 2023, at 19.27 UTC
I like this one because it begins right after dark in the northern hemisphere. No setting an alarm to get up in the middle of the night!
UTC converter again
The Geminids can produce up to 150 multi-colored meteors per hour.
Geminids can be seen in both hemispheres.
Although you'll need to wait until midnight in the southern hemisphere.
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At the risk of sounding maudlin, it doesn’t cost anything to find the solace and peace that the sky offers. (well, it might cost 27.99 plus tax, but you get the idea!)

Everyone on our planet has access to these marvels and can enjoy some awesomeness.

Which of these top 10 astronomical events for 2023 appeal to you? What’s your favorite planet?

I wish you clear skies!

Science Behind Touch_proprioception_Louie
LOUIE'S FAVORITE IS EARTH

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Unwanted Life
January 3, 2023 5:44 am

I had no idea there were so many astronomical events happening this year, or that they were even this frequent in general. Maybe I’ve not never paid much attention because I’ve spent my adult life living in cites, meaning there’s too much light pollution to enjoy astronomical events like these. Must be nice to have the ability to go somewhere where you can enjoy the darkness from city lights to enjoy such events

Alyssa
Alyssa
January 3, 2023 6:06 am

This is a great list! I’m marking my calendar for all of these. I love meteor showers and can’t wait to see my first solar eclipse this year. Thank you

Ami
Ami
January 3, 2023 6:13 am

I can see how Louie would choose Earth as his favorite. If we’re going with other planets in the solar system, I choose Saturn. Thank you for the great list! I’ve seen lunar eclipses but not solar eclipses. I’m down for October 14!

Steve
Steve
January 3, 2023 7:36 am

Great post! I want to see a solar eclipse again, without question. According to your chart, I’ll be in the 60% shadow realm. Got my calendar marked!

Eleanor
January 3, 2023 8:31 am

Astronomy is so fascinating! This is a lovely way to look at the New Year, finding unique events to try out, as opposed to just the regular holidays in the calendar. Thank you for sharing x

Fransic verso
Fransic verso
January 3, 2023 12:33 pm

I’ve been to only one and watched it with my family. But will definitely save this to watch them too. Thank you for sharing them!

Fritzie
January 3, 2023 3:40 pm

These events are really cool. Meteor showers are always fun to watch. I’d like to see Comet C too. And yes… Saturn is such a beautiful planet.

Charity
Charity
January 3, 2023 6:05 pm

Oh wow! What a cool list of astronomical events happening this year! I will have to keep them in mind! Thanks for sharing!

Amy Laundrie
January 3, 2023 7:34 pm

Great post, Sue. I recently became familiar with the term “dark sky parks” and plan on visiting some in Wisconsin. I also love stargazing at our northern Wisconsin cabin since there isn’t any light pollution. I’m still hoping to see the northern lights some night.

Kelly Diane
January 4, 2023 12:30 am

What an interesting post. I never realised there were so many astronomical events. I’d love to watch a meteor shower one day.

Layla Todd
January 4, 2023 10:24 am

Wow, 2023 sounds like it is going to have some lovely astronomical events! I love that there will be a hybrid solar eclipse and a fabulous supermoon. 🌕

Mike
Mike
January 4, 2023 10:39 am

Amazing list as usual. Can’t beat the price. We were in a dark sky. Park in death Valley. Great place to go in the winter when it’s not so hot. No light pollution. Thanks again. Mike.

Eva Apelqvist
Eva Apelqvist
January 4, 2023 11:55 am

I will keep looking back at this calendar to catch some of these cool sky events. GREAT blog post, as always, and fantastic STEM activity to do together.

Lauren
Lauren
January 5, 2023 3:34 am

This was really interesting. I have recently started to be interested in the moon as well as the changes in nature and also manifestation and star signs, moon signs etc. I really enjoyed learning about these astronomical events. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year!

Lauren – bournemouthgirl

jenny
jenny
January 5, 2023 7:13 am

Shame I won’t see the eclipse from the UK! But these are some great events to look out for. I’m looking forward to the supermoon and hopefully to get a glimpse of the meteor shower!

Benny
January 9, 2023 12:00 pm

This is a wonderful resource for astronomical events this year. Some of which I knew, but many are new to me. Thank you for sharing this with us and putting all the research in.

Simona
Simona
March 8, 2023 5:33 am

So many of these I need to make a note of so I don’t miss out on them! Thank you Sue xx

Susan Berk Koch author

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