Every Monday, I’ll highlight the upcoming week’s celestial highlights from North America (this also applies to the northern mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere). Check out the main feed Check out more articles on stargazing, astronomy, solar eclipses, and more.
This week’s night sky: January 1-7, 2024
If you thought you could quietly start your stargazing year, think again. First up will be the Quadriids meteor shower. This is one of the lesser-known but rich displays of “shooting stars” this year. If you want to get out and see fireballs (super bright meteors), this week’s waning moon guarantees dark skies. But unlike Earth’s movement closest to the Sun this week, clear skies aren’t so easy to predict.
Here’s everything you need to know about stargazing and astronomy this week.
Tuesday, January 2nd: Earth at perihelion—a “super sun”?
Earth’s orbit of the sun is not a perfect circle. Today is the day of perihelion, when the Earth is closest to the sun during the year. The word comes from the Greek peri (near) and helios (sun). It is 91.4 million miles (147,100,632 km) from the Sun today, but will be 94.5 million miles (152,099,968 km) away at its aphelion on July 5, according to the Sun. time and date.com.
That’s because the Earth orbits the Sun in a slight ellipse, which means the Sun appears a little larger than usual, similar to a “supermoon” when it’s closest to Earth. Masu. “Super Sun”, anyone? Although it may be difficult to appreciate, try looking at today’s sun through the eclipse glasses prepared in preparation for the total solar eclipse on April 8th.
Wednesday to Thursday, January 3rd to 4th: Shibungid meteor shower
When it comes to meteor showers, the Cybrunides meteor shower is little known, even though it produces about 120 “shooting stars” per hour at its peak, which occurs tonight. It is said to be powered by 2003’s EH1 – possibly an asteroid or a “rocky comet.” NASAThe Cybrunid meteor shower is also known for its bright fireball meteors, which can appear anywhere in the night sky. Still, its radiant point is close to the end of the Big Dipper’s handle.
This month’s zodiac sign: Squirrel
There are 88 constellations in the night sky, all codified by the International Astronomical Union. So why bother looking for a constellation that doesn’t officially exist? This week is the Shibungid meteor shower. Its name comes from the fact that the shooting stars appear to be coming from the constellation that was once called the Squirrelids meteor shower. When the IAU created an official list, it became meaningless. It is located between the constellations Bootes and Draco, near the end of the handle of the Big Dipper. NASA.
The times and dates specified apply to mid-northern latitudes. For the most accurate location-specific information, please refer to online planetariums such as: Stellarium and the sky live.check Planet Rise/Planet Set, sunrise sunset and Moonrise/Moonset Time where you are.
I am a night sky expert and author of the following books: Stargazing in 2024: 50 things you can easily see in North America’s night sky. For the latest information on sky events and total solar eclipses, subscribe or Check out the main feed Update new articles regularly.
I wish you clear skies and big eyes.