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Top Ten Night-Sky Marvels for 2013

Top Ten Night-Sky Marvels for 2013

Remember those tweets or facebook messages late at night or  in the morning about how beautiful the super-moon or the comet was last night? How you often said to yourself, I wish I knew that was going to happen so I could have seen it! Well here’s a little help to make sure in 2013 you know about the big sky events before they happen.

10. January 2-3 Quadrantid Meteors: Get an early start to the sky watching year with what might prove to be a difficult one to see depending on the weather. The Quandrantid are expected to have a shooting-star rate of 80 meteors per hour.  January 3rd is supposed to be the morning for it, and NASA will have feeds of the event.

9. April 25 Partial Lunar Eclipse: Of the three lunar eclipses for 2013, none are expected to be mind-blowing. Fortunately this April event will be visible from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.  It might be our best bet this year as the others are said to be too difficult to see.

8.  March Comet PANSTARRS: What sounds like the title of a cooking show on the Learning Channel is actually a Comet that will streak passed the Earth around March 5th.  Observers at the mid-northern latitudes will have the best chance to see it, especially as it makes the turn around the sun around March 9-10.

7. May 9-10 Annular Solar Eclipse: Australia, PNG, and the South Pacific will be able to see this “Ring of Fire” eclipse.  Much of the world will be able to watch it on the night of the 9th, via webcast.

6. May 24-28 Planet Fest: During the course of 4 days Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will appear soon after sunset for those watching in North America.  Word is that Saturn’s shine may jump on stage to play a few songs as well.

5.  June 23 Super Moon: An encore to last year’s much hailed  “big moon” days, at its closest distance to the Earth this year the moon will appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter. -No this is not enlargement spam email.

4. August 11-13 Perseid Meteors: 2013 is predicted to be a good year for meteor showers and when the Perseid come around the shooting star rate is predicted to be 100 meteors per hour!

3. October 12 International Moon Observer Night: How is it different from the super moon? On IMON the moon will actually be at first-quarter phase and it’s craters and shadowy mountains will be most visible.

2. November 3 Hybrid Solar Eclipse: What starts off as another “Ring of Fire” scene will eventually become a full eclipse.  Visible from the Atlantic, middle of Africa, eventually ending in Somalia, this is another one that might be best followed via webcast.

1. November-December Comet ISON: Don’t buy into any hype about a doomsday comet, astronomers are hoping this could prove to be the most visible and beautiful comet in several years. Whether or not it will be the Christmas Comet many are hoping for depends on what happens during the course of the year. Interestingly the Mars Curiousity Rover might help with this effort by taking some useful images of ISON in the early fall.

Source: Cosmic Log/NBC

Photo: Dave Dugdale / flickr


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