Stargazers get to see shooting stars, massive Sun on New Year’s holidays

MOSCOW: During the upcoming holidays, stargazers will be able to witness the greatest activity of the Quadrantid meteor shower, as well as t...


MOSCOW: During the upcoming holidays, stargazers will be able to witness the greatest activity of the Quadrantid meteor shower, as well as the New Year’s parade of planets and the largest Sun with the onset of 2022, Head of the Department of Methodological Support of the Moscow Planetarium, astronomer Lyudmila Koshman told TASS.

The Quadrantid stream is going to reach its peak in the early hours of January 4. Scientists expect up to 120 meteors per hour, which is one or two shooting stars per minute.

“In 2022, the conditions for observing meteors are favorable [all over Russia]. <…> The best time for observing will be from midnight until dawn, when the radiant is as high as possible above the horizon,” the Russian astronomer noted.

The largest Sun

On January 4, the Earth will pass perihelion, the point of the orbit that is nearest to the Sun. On this day, our planet is going to be at its minimum distance from the Sun, hence the celestial body will appear largest to us.

“The Sun’s visible diameter [on this day] will be the largest in 2022, therefore, the disk of the celestial body is going to look 3% bigger than in early July, when the distance [between the planets] reached its maximum,” Koshman said.

Parade of planets

From late December until Christmas, the so-called New Year’s parade of planets, except for Mars, can be observed, though this phenomenon becomes visible only in the morning. This time, Venus will be significantly higher than the Sun, creating a rare ‘double planet’ effect.

“Uranus, Neptune, Jupiter, Saturn and the beautiful Venus will shine like Christmas lights gradually leaving behind the horizon following the Sun. <...> It can be seen in the evenings from 16:00 to 18:00 near the southwestern horizon,” the expert stated.

Furthermore, from January 4 to 5, the crescent of the young Moon is going to join the planets visible in the sky. The best conditions for observation will be in Russia’s south, where the planets will be highest above the horizon.

In January, astronomy lovers will be able to spot Comet Leonard approaching the Sun. On January 3, it will fly within 92 mln kilometers from the Sun, after that, the comet will leave the solar system, according to the scientist.

The most efficient way to catch sight of these celestial bodies is to use binoculars or a telescope, while the best time for observation is about 50 minutes after sunset.

-News Feed

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Local Glob: Stargazers get to see shooting stars, massive Sun on New Year’s holidays
Stargazers get to see shooting stars, massive Sun on New Year’s holidays
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