Seven Astronomical Phenomena of 2023 You Can’t Miss

This year there will be seven astronomical phenomena that you cannot miss: from a comet, the supermoon, meteor showers, to an annular eclipse. Likewise, some wonders of the Universe will be present throughout the year.

About, Julieta Fierro Gossmanresearcher from the UNAM Institute of Astronomy, explained that in Mexico City there is a rainy season and a dry season.

From November to April, the sky is usually clear and can be seen at night. However, from May to October is the rainy season, so it is difficult to see the stars.

Below is a list of the astronomical phenomena of 2023:

  1. Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF). This comet was the third to be discovered in 2022. The last time it passed Earth was 50,000 years ago, and the next time it will be seen from here will be at the same time.

For now, from February 2, it will be possible to see it with the naked eye on the horizon, that is, in the direction from which the Sun sets. As the days go by, it will be possible to see it in the direction of the North Star.

  1. Super Moon. The Moon has an elliptical orbit around the Earth, so sometimes it’s far away and looks small, but when it’s closer it looks bigger. This is known as a Super Moon.

As the Super Moon reflects more sunlight, it appears brighter.

This 2023 will be seen four times: on July 3, 361,934 km away; on August 1, with 357,530 km; on August 31 at 357,344 km and on September 29 at 361,552 km away.

  1. Blue Moon. As is known, the phases of the Moon occur during 29 days of the month, and the full Moon can only be seen once a month. However, on very rare occasions, the full Moon can be seen at the beginning and end of the month. The second Full Moon is known as the Blue Moon.

This phenomenon occurs every two or three years, and in 2023 we will have the privilege of seeing it on August 30, which would be the second full moon of the month.

  1. annular eclipse. On October 14th there will be an annular eclipse that will be visible from most of the American continent. The best places to enjoy it will be the United States, the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico; Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil.

Sometimes the Moon perfectly covers the Sun, because they are apparently the same size, but at other times it does not completely cover it and a solar ring remains around the Moon.

As the Sun is extremely bright, for that day Julieta Fierro recommends the use of special glasses to see the eclipse, as it is very dangerous to look straight on without protection. The consequences on the eyes can be very serious. Lenses can be easily obtained online.

  1. Andromeda Galaxy. In December, due to winter, the sky can be seen better from Mexico, but this galaxy can only be seen from Mexico during this season.

It is a neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way and can easily be seen next to the Cassiopeia constellation, which looks like a capital “M”. Andromeda can be identified because it looks like a “little cloud”.

The Andromeda Galaxy, like our Milky Way, has 100 billion stars; It is estimated that within 500 million years the two galaxies will collide and form a much larger galaxy.

  1. Leonid and Geminid meteor shower. On the 17th and 18th of November there will be a shower of stars from the constellation Leo, which is why they are known as Leonidas.
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On the 13th and 14th of December you can see the Geminids, who come from the constellation Gemini, hence their name.

As comets (frozen rocks) circle the Sun, they break apart, leaving small pieces behind along their orbit. As the Earth passes through the orbit of these comets, the comet fragments entering the Earth’s atmosphere heat up and become very bright fragments. We know it as a meteor shower.

To observe them, it is convenient that some people gather in a clear place so that each one can observe a different place. When someone sees one, they can notify others.

  1. The Milky Way. It’s the galaxy we live in, but it can’t be easily observed. Indeed, in the northern hemisphere it is impossible to see it, only from Mexico in winter it can be seen very well. “That’s what Mexican astronomers are famous for, because they observed it without telescopes.”

The Milky Way is made up of 100 billion stars. “It is like a forest and we are in a little tree, in the star called Sun; as we revolve around it, we cannot see the disk of stars.”

However, to be able to see it, you need to be in an extremely dark and bright place.

Recommendations to see the astronomical phenomena of 2023

To observe the sky, we currently have several applications that can be downloaded on cell phones or tablets. You simply point to a region of the sky on your device and the app identifies the star, constellation and even the Milky Way. With these devices you can begin to locate the location of celestial objects.

Another possibility is to approach groups of amateur astronomers, who meet in obscure places across the country; In Mexico City there are several groups with which excursions are made to places where the sky is dark and can be enjoyed without light pollution.

Through probes and large telescopes

Another way of seeing astronomical phenomena is through probes., like Gaia, who is making the first map of the Milky Way.

In fact, Gaia has already calculated the speeds and positions of over a million stars. On these maps, you can see what the traces of the stars closest to us look like.

Thanks to Gaia, we are also discovering the history of the Milky Way. For example, we know that some spirals were formed by the merger of two or more galaxies.

He James Web Telescope He showed us the sky in a totally different way than what we had seen. It is a telescope that can observe the Universe through infrared radiation. In James Webb, galaxies are seen as skeletons of infrared radiation.

It also allows us to see the most distant objects ever studied in human history. These are stars that formed when the Universe was 500 million years old. “It’s a very short time from the point of view of the Universe, which has evolved for 13.8 billion years.”

Another major project to study the Universe is the Artemis mission, which seeks to place a space station around the Moon and a base on its surface.

The idea is that humanity learns to build buildings with 3D computers, cultivate lunar soil, produce oxygen and, mainly, send women on space missions taking care of their reproductive organs from cosmic rays; In short, live off planet Earth.

If you can’t look directly at the sky, you can always do it through technology, wonderful things that humanity is discovering, concluded the university academic.

This material is shared with permission from global UNAM


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