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News – Super Blood Wolf Moon stars for Winter 2019 skywatching

OUT OF THIS WORLD | Seasonal Skywatching – a preview of what to look for in the night sky for next season

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist / Science Writer

Thursday, November 29, 2018, 22:21 – As the day gets colder, and the night gets longer, winter is getting closer! Here are the top skywatching events for Winter 201-2019, and a few extras to keep you out for, too.

Winter may not be the easiest time of year to see stars, but it can be the most valuable.

Clear winter nights often present the best view, compared to other seasons, because the air above tends to be drier and more stable. Stars, planets and moons appear clearer and cleaner, because their light finds less turbulence in the air before reaching us. The drier air also reflects less light pollution generated by our urban centers, so our skies tend to be darker, allowing us to see more stars, and more meteor dimmers during the annual meteor shower.

So, stay warm when you go to watch this coming season, and don't miss these great shows.


• December 22 – Longest Full Month in 2018

• January 3 – Earth in perihelion

January 3-4 – peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower

January 20-21 – Super Blood Wolf Moon Total Lunar Eclipse

• February 21 – Zodiacal Light after dusk dusk, the western sky for two weeks

• March 20 – Equinox

• Bonus – Conjunction and Alignment (January 22 – February 27)


This year, December Full Cold Month falls on the night of the 22nd, only one night after the longest night in a year.

On that night, the Moon will rise at 5 pm. local time, and will be set at 8:32 a.m. on the morning of the 23rd, for a total time of Full Moon 15 hours and 32 minutes!

It is the longest full moon of the year!

We haven't seen the last full moon since December 2010 (when it was in the sky for 15 hours and 54 minutes on 20-21)!


This event is not so much to see. Instead, it is something that is easy to experience, because the Earth passes through what is known as perihelion.

When the Earth surrounds the Sun, the Earth cannot trace a perfect circle. This really follows the elliptical path.

This means that, even when we usually use the average distance from the Sun 1 "astronomical unit" or 1 "AU", equal to 150 million km, at some point in its orbit, the Earth is closer to the Sun, and at other points, it's more far.

This scheme of Earth's orbit exaggerates the elliptical shape of the orbit, and the relative size of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. Credit: NASA

Every year, on or around January 3, the Earth reaches its closest point to the Sun. This is called perihelion.

If you want to mark the right moment, pause for a short break on your night, right at 05:20 UTC, on January 3.

• 1:50 a.m. Jan 3 Newfoundland Standard Time

1:20 a.m. January 3 Atlantic Standard Time

• 12:20 a.m. 3 Jan Eastern Standard Time

• 11:20 a.m. Jan 2 Time Main Standard

• 10:20 pm Mountain Standard Time January 2

• 9:20 a night Jan. 2 Pacific Standard Time

Will you feel something when this happens? Not specifically from astronomical events, but still pretty cool to mark the moment when it happened.


The best of winter meteor showers happens right after the New Year – Quadrantids.

The Quadrantid location is beaming, on the night of 3-4 January 2019. Credit: Stellarium / Scott Sutherland

Unlike the Quadrantid shower in 2018, which is mostly washed away by a very bright moon, almost the full moon, this year's meteor shower occurs while the Moon is just a thin piece of crescent moon, which slides outside the horizon shortly after sunset.

That means we will have beautiful dark skies throughout the night, and observers have the best chance to capture even the faintest meteors that emanate in the sky during the peak of January 3-4 from the bathroom.

The Quadrantids, which originated from an asteroid known as 2003 EH1 (possibly an extinct comet), is only one of two meteor showers known to originate from rocky bodies (December Geminids are another). Both of these meteor showers have a very good display, too, with Quadrantids giving an average 120 meteors per hour (although the actual number can vary from around 60 to close to 200)!


The first thing to consider when planning to watch meteor showers is to track the weather.

Be sure to check The Weather Network on TV, on our website, or from our application, just to make sure you have the most recent estimates.

Next, you have to stay away from the city lights, and the further you can get, the better.

Notice below: What is the pollution of the light that occurs in the view of the city of the Milky Way

For most parts of Canada, getting out of light pollution is just a matter of driving outside your city, city or village. But in some areas, such as in the southwest and center of Ontario, and along the St. Lawrence River, the concentration of light pollution is very high. Getting far enough outside one city to avoid light pollution, unfortunately, tends to put you under the dome of the next city of light pollution. In these areas, there are dark skies that are preserved, but skywatcher's best bet for dark skies is usually to drive north.

After you verify you will have a clear sky, and you have escaped from urban light pollution, stop somewhere safe and dark (provincial parks, even if you are limited to parking lots, usually a very good location).

To look best, to see the most likely meteor possibilities, it is very important that you give your eyes time to adapt to the dark. Between 30-45 minutes is optimal.

During that time, avoid all bright light sources, including your mobile screen. If you need to use your cellphone, consider reducing the amount of blue light that your screen releases (usually in your phone's screen settings) and reducing its brightness. Also, there is an application that can put your mobile into & # 39; night mode & # 39 ;, which shifts the screen color even more red. After you've done that, checking your cellphone while skywatching won't have a big impact on your night vision.

Note: Although the graph presented here shows the location of the meteor shower & # 39; luminous & # 39; – a point in the sky where a meteor appears originating – the meteor itself can appear anywhere in the sky.

So, the best way to watch a meteor shower is to lean back or lie down so you can look straight up so you can see as much of the sky as possible. Bring a blanket to spread on the ground, or a garden chair to sit, or even lean into your car.

Bringing some family and friends is also good, because it is best to share this experience with others.


Nearly a year after 2018 "Super Blue Moon Total Lunar Eclipse", we will see others, although this one will not be "blue".

On the night of January 21-22, the Full Wolf Moon will pass through the northern half of the Earth's shadow, resulting in a Total Moon Eclipse. The chart above shows the Moon path through the Earth pointer and umbral shadow, and the details of the eclipse time, for various time zones in Canada.

For an additional bonus, because the Moon will be very close to perigee – the closest distance to Earth – it will be & # 39;Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse.

Hope for a clear sky for this event, because we won't have Total Lunar Eclipse so well centered in North America (so everyone in Canada has the opportunity to see it), until May 2022!


Moonlight and zodiac above La Silla. Credit: ESO

This winter, observers of the night sky will have the opportunity to see a large cloud of inter-planetary dust surrounding the Sun, which manifests in our night sky as a phenomenon known as "The Zodiacal Light".

At the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's 2019 Observer's Handbook, Dr. Roy Bishop, Emeritus Physics Professor from Acadia University, writes:

The zodiac rays appear as pyramids of large white light and soft glow with a base near the horizon, and the axis is centered on the zodiac (or better, the ecliptic). In its brightest parts, it exceeds the luminance of the Milky Way.

According to Dr. Bishop, events even though this phenomenon can be very bright, can be easily spoiled by moonlight, fog or light pollution. Also, because it is best seen after dusk, the inexperienced are sometimes confused for dusk, and thus lose.

On a clear night, and under a dark sky, look to the western horizon, in half an hour after dusk has faded, from around February 21 to March 7.


When our Earth moves in its orbit, the planet's slope causes the Sun's angle to change in our sky.

From late September to the end of March, the North Pole tilts from the Sun, so the Sun is positioned more directly in the southern hemisphere, and the Sun reaches its lowest point in the northern sky (and highest in the southern sky) on or around December 22.

From the end of March to the end of September, on the contrary, the South Pole is tilted away from the Sun, so that the Sun is positioned more directly in the northern hemisphere, reaching the highest point in the northern sky (and lowest in the southern sky) or around June 22.

At two points between these periods – especially around March 20 and September 22 – it appears to us as if the Sun was crossing the equator. In March, it crosses from south to north, and in September, crosses from north to south.

The exact moment that the Sun seems above the equator, in both cases, known as Equinox.

In the hemisphere where you are, at that time, determine exactly what equinox you are experiencing. In March, the northern hemisphere marks the vernal equinox, while the southern hemisphere marks the autumn equinox. In September, it's the opposite.

Future turning points, marking the beginning of spring in the north and autumn in the south, occur at exactly 5:58 p.m. EDT, on March 20.


Look at the clear sky on almost every night of the year, and it's very possible that you will see the Moon, along with one or more planets (Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn most prominent), at least at some point at night.

On certain nights of the year, these objects look very close together (at least from our point of view on Earth), which astronomers call them & # 39;conjunction& # 39;, while on other nights, some of these bright objects can march across the sky in & # 39;alignment& # 39 ;.

Here are the famous conjunctions and alignments for Winter 2019

This winter 2019 connectivity and harmony all occur in the morning before dawn. Credit: Stellarium / Scott Sutherland

• January 22 and 23 – conjunction of Venus-Jupiter

• January 31 – Jupiter-Moon-Jupiter leveling

• February 18 – conjunction of Venus-Saturn, with Jupiter nearby

• February 27 – Jupiter-Moon conjunction, with Venus and Saturn nearby

• February 28 – Venus-Saturn-Moon-Jupiter leveling

What's the rest of this year? There is a lot going on, but the biggest event to come is the total solar eclipse in the southern hemisphere in July, and Mercury's November transit before the Sun!

Source: IMO | Royal Astronomical Society of Canada


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