Sunday, 21 February 2016

Ten star gazing events for 2016

10 Star Gazing Events in 2016 you won't want to miss by Jeff Wilson

I’m not alone in loving to watch the stars. Even as science progress and we can explain more of these whimsical celestial events, the information does nothing to detract from the beauty and awe. If anything I think it adds a new level of connection to the universe I live in. Here are some of the 2016 highlights for the stars. Stay tuned to Spirit Science ass we approach these dates for what to expect and what it all means. I like to know about celestial movements as early as possible so I can organize an adventure with my friends. These are amazing events alone but why not share them with your friends!

Total Eclipse Of The Sun On March 8th Through The 9th

The umbral shadow of the moon will carve a path from Asia to the far eastern parts of the USA. An umbral shadow refers to the darkest aspect of a shadow cast on Earth by an opaque celestial body. The Moon’s umbra will be tracking through the south eastern Asian islands of Sumatra, Bangka Belitung, Borneo, Sulawesi and Halmahera. The umbra will then strike out across the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii. Those countries and states will be a able to see a partial or full eclipse.

Penumbral Eclipse Of The Moon On March 23rd

Two weeks after the moon passes between the Earth and Sun the moon will come around again in a very narrow orbit. The moon will pass through the Northern part of Earth’s shadow but avoid the Earths umbra. The moon will be darkened but still visible to viewers along North America’s West coast up to 30 minutes to an hour before moon set.

A ‘Blue’ Moon Rises On May 21st

The rule with blue Moons is dictated by how many are full Moons are visible in the calendar year. In years where there are 13 full moons that means one month will have two full moons. It isn’t clear if the Moon will literally be blue, the name refers to the appearance of two months being seen within a certain window. A heavy enough amount of particles in the atmosphere is what ‘changes’ the color of the Moon. The amounts of debris a large enough percentage but the actual particles have to be at least 0.7 microns wide on average. Fires and volcanic activity are well known for changing the hue of the Moon.

Mars Shines Like None Other In Late Spring

We can see the fiery light of Mars through out most the year, though for a only a short window does it shine well enough to fuss over. From around May 18th to June 3rd of this year, Mars will arrive at opposition to the Sun. This means it will be aligned with the Sun in a manner to reflect the most amount of life. During this time the planet will be one of the top three brightest celestial bodies next to the Sun and Moon. There will be nights where Mars is actually brighter than the Moon!

An Occultation Of Aldebaran July 29th

Aldebaran is a large orange star 65 light years and is seen as part of the constellation Taurus. You will be able to see Moon occulte Aldebaran that evening. This means that the Moon will fully block out the star and its light for a few moments. This event can be viewed over Western Canada and the US,an hour before the sunrise. Observers will want to track the occultation in the Northeast to Eastern skies.

The Perseid Meteor Shower August 11th to the 15th

Perseid meteor shower is one of the highest ranked annually occurring meteor showers. It has a consistent and easily tracked window for observation and boasts an awesome 90 shooting stars per hour. It can be seen anywhere in the world a little after midnight. I saw last years and it was amazing. The hardest part was keeping my gaze soft enough to peripherally see as many as I could at one time. A meteoroid would flash incredibly bright and my eye would zoom in on the one, making it hard to see the others!

Visible Doubles Light Up August 28th

A couple of hours after sunset on the 28th you can gaze up to see the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, within 10-15 degrees of each other. If you hold up your arm to the sky and make a fist, that is about 10 degrees on average.
This occultation will have a waning moon blocking Aldebaran. This event can be seen over Eastern Canada and most of the US, except parts of the Midwest.

The ‘Super Moon’ Debuts Again On November 14th

This particular ‘Supermoon’ won’t be an optical illusion. The moon will turn full around 9 am EST and 2.4 hours later it will come within 221,541 miles (356,536 km) of Earth. The last time the moon was this close was in 1948. The Moon’s average traveling distance around Earth is 238,900 miles (384,400 km).

The Geminid Meteor Shower And The Last Occultation Of Aldebaran on December 13th-14th

Normally the Geminid showers are the most beautiful and luminescent of all the showers. This year the Moon will be full and blocking Aldebaran for North American viewers. Only the brightest meteors will be visible that night. On the plus side I’ve never seen first hand a shower with a full moon as the background! Should be beautiful and I’m looking forward to hunting a more secluded star watching spot. I want to be able to see as much as I can.

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