In this first month of the new year, aside from the celebratory fireworks, we can also witness some beautiful astronomical events such as the Quadrantid meteor shower, two comets and two large asteroids at opposition.
Tomorrow, December 19, 2022, a visitor from nearly a light-year away will come closest to the Sun (perihelion) after several million years of travel through the Oort Cloud. This visitor is recently discovered comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS).
This month of December 2022, we will be visited by an interesting comet from the depths of the Oort cloud, we will be showered by up to 120 meteors per hour during the Geminid meteor shower peak, and we will be able to observe Mars and Mercury under great conditions.
Despite some delays, the highly anticipated kick-off to NASA's Artemis program finally debuted with the launch of Artemis I. This unmanned mission to orbit the Moon is the first test of the Orion spacecraft carried by a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
Tomorrow, November 17, the Leonid meteor shower will peak. You can expect 15 meteors per hour on average if conditions are ideal. They will appear to radiate from the constellation of Leo.
If you're in the Americas, Asia, or Oceania, you should be able to witness a total lunar eclipse tomorrow, November 8. Between 09:10 and 12:49 UTC, the Moon will pass completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, also known as umbra. First the Moon will get darker gradually and then it will shift to a rusty red or blood red color.
November will be slightly less eventful than the last month in terms of stargazing events, but there will still be some highlights such as a total lunar eclipse, the perigee of Mars, the Leonids and a few smaller meteor showers. A new addition to these calendars will also include the best times to observe major asteroids and comets.
If you're in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, or India, you should be able to witness a partial solar eclipse tomorrow, October 25. This is when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun instead of the entirety, which is known as a total solar eclipse. Remember to keep your eyes safe and watch with a special solar filter or by looking at the Sun's reflection.
Tomorrow night, October 21, the Orionid meteor shower will peak with as many as 20 meteors per hour on average. The meteors will appear to radiate from the Orion constellation. I hope you will be able to enjoy this month's largest meteor shower!
Like last month, this will be an eventful one, including several meteor showers and a partial solar eclipse. Take a look at all of these astronomical events that await us this month in this stargazing calendar for October 2022.