The Sky Tonight Update: Perseids Meteor Shower

The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. It peaks this year on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13.

Continue reading

The Sky Tonight Update: Full Buck Supermoon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Buck Moon because the male buck deer would begin to grow their new antlers at this time of year. Bucks shed and regrow their antlers each year, producing a larger and more impressive set as the years go by.

Continue reading

June Solstice

The North Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, this solstice will mark the beginning of summer and the longest day of the year with early dawns, long days, late sunsets, and short nights. The sun will be at its height each day, as it crosses the sky. Meanwhile, south of the equator, winter will begin.

Continue reading

The Sky Tonight Update: Strawberry Supermoon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Strawberry Moon because it signaled the time of year to gather ripening fruit. It also coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvesting season.  This name has been used by Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples, among others, to mark the ripening of “June-bearing” strawberries that are ready to be gathered. The Haida term Berries Ripen Moon reflects this as well. As flowers bloom and early fruit ripens, June is a time of great abundance for many.

Continue reading

The Sky Tonight Update: Full Flower Moon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Flower Moon because as the season of spring progresses, the days grow longer and the weather improves, inspiring plants everywhere to “spring forth” and blossom.  By May, winter’s cold grip has loosened and many plants take the opportunity to produce flowers at this time. Due to this, May’s full Moon has traditionally been known as the Flower Moon.

This moon has also been known as the Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.

The Sky Tonight Update: Total Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible throughout all of North America, Greenland, the Atlantic Ocean, and parts of western Europe and western Africa. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

The Sky Tonight Update: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has been observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. It peaks this year on the night of May 6 and the morning of the May 7.

Continue reading

The Sky Tonight Update: Partial Solar Eclipse

A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun, sometimes resembling a bite taken out of a cookie. A partial solar eclipse can only be safely observed with a special solar filter or by looking at the Sun’s reflection. This partial eclipse will be visible throughout most of the southeast Pacific Ocean and southern South America. It will be best seen from Argentina with 53% coverage.
(NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

The Sky Tonight Update: Lyrids Meteor Shower

The Lyrids is an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861. The shower runs annually from April 16-25. It peaks this year on the night of the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The Lyrids are one of the oldest recorded showers with observations going back to 687 B.C.

Continue reading