By: Steff Willis
There’s never been a better time than now to keep an eye on the night sky with plenty of celestial wonders to enjoy in 2023.
From a total solar eclipse in April to a meteor shower in May, the celestial calendar for 2023 is filling up.
Professor Jonti Horner, an Astrophysics expert at the University of Southern Queensland, said it’s set to be a unique year in the world of cosmology.
“One of the things that’s really striking me at the moment is that we’ve got all of the planets that you can see with the unaided eye, except for Mercury, visible in the evening sky all at the same time” said Professor Horner.
“Another good thing at this time of year is that we’ve got Orion high in the sky to the north, northeast and for those who want to learn the constellations, learn their way around the night sky, Orion’s a really good starting point.”
“It’s still my passion as well as my job. It’s something I’ve been fascinated with since I was about 5 years old so that’s coming 4 decades worth of fascination now and there’s always something new to see.” Professor Jonti Horner
The first big celestial event was Venus and Saturn passing each other in the night sky on January 23, joined by a very thin crescent moon just after sunset.
The next will be a meteor shower in May.
“In May we have the Eta Aquariids meteor shower and that’s the second-best meteor shower of the year for us here in Australia.”
“It’s a spectacle that’s really best seen in the hours before sunrise…as the night goes on you’ll see more and more shooting stars.”
The best meteor shower for the year will happen on the night of the 14th in December.
While it’s not as special in our region, travellers to or locals from Western Australia should be aware of a total eclipse of the sun happening in April.
“If you make your way to Exmouth or the peninsula that Exmouth sits on, you’ll be bang underneath the track of totality where the moons shadow is crossing the earth” said Professor Horner.
“The moon and the sun will line up perfectly and the moon will make the sun disappear, the sky will go dark… it will be really spectacular for just a few minutes.”
Feature Image: Mt Kent Facility (Supplied)
Article supplied with thanks to 96five.
Feature image: Photo by Yong Chuan Tan on Unsplash