Top 10 Upcoming Astronomical Events Of 2013

Top 10 Upcoming Astronomical Events Of 2013

At various points throughout the year, I have people asking me if I saw the meteor shower the night before. Almost every time, that question is the first time I even heard of said shower.

So this time, we’ve made a list of some of the most impressive astronomical events of the upcoming year. Many of these will be visible throughout the world, while some are specific to certain continents. You don’t have to have an interest in science to find these feats of the sky amazing, and hopefully this will help you avoid missing them.

10. Lyrids Meteor Shower

lyrid-meteor-shower

Visible between April 16th and the 25th, but peaking between the 21st and 22nd, the Lyrids Meteor Shower takes place at the same time every year. There are usually between 10 & 20 meteors per hour, but there can be up to 100. The trails these meteors leave behind can last for several minutes. The meteors also cause minuscule flakes of comet dust to collide with the atmosphere at 49 kilometers per second, resulting in further streaks of light.

9. Partial Lunar Eclipse

Partial-lunar-eclipse

A lunar eclipse is when the Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, meaning that the moon enters the shadow cast by the Earth. April 25th will only be a partial eclipse, which means that part of the Moon will be in the Penumbra, where some sunlight will reach it (though less than usual,) and part of it will be in the Umbra, where no sunlight will reach it. This eclipse will last 27 minutes, and be visible in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

The second of three Lunar eclipses due to take place in 2013, a Penumbral lunar eclipse, will occur on May 25th. The final lunar eclipse of the year will take place on October 18th, which will also be Penumbral.

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8. Saturn at Opposition

saturn-Opposition

On April 28th, the Earth will come directly between Saturn and the Sun. This is called Opposition, because Saturn will be directly opposite the Sun in our sky. It will rush in the East at sunset, and set in the west at sunrise. During the night, it will be the brightest object in our sky. While Saturn will be closer to us than usual for all of 2013, this is when it will be clearest in the sky. Those of you in the Northern Hemisphere (i.e. about 90% of people) should be able to see Saturn all summer, and anyone with atelescope will be able to see its rings.

7. Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

Eta-Aquarids-Meteor-Shower

Visible from May 4th through the 7th, but peaking on the 5th & 6th, the visibility of the Eta Aquaridsincreases drastically the further south you go, with up to 60 meteors an hour in the Southern Hemisphere. In Mexico, and the southern US, it is predicted that there will be about 10-20 meteors visible per hour. The best time to view the meteors is an hour or two before dawn on any of these days, with the most meteors expected to fall on the morning of May 5th.

6. Annular Solar Eclipse

annular-solar-eclipse

 

As we all know, a Solar Eclipse is the opposite of a Lunar Eclipse, in that it is when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, casting a shadow on the surface of the Earth. There are two types of solar eclipses: total and annular. This will be an Annular Solar Eclipse, meaning that the Sun will not be totally blocked out, but a ring of it will still be visible. The result, though, is no less impressive than a total eclipse. This year, it will be visible on May 10th, in Australia, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, and the Central Pacific.

 

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Eclipser 1 — stratospheric flight in Total Solar Eclipse

Eclipser 1 — stratospheric flight in Total Solar Eclipse

A Romanian-Australian scientific team successfully launched a stratospheric high-altitude unmanned balloon during the 14th November 2012 Total Solar Eclipse (TSE). Unique images and videos from the most spectacular astronomic event of the year were taken from the near out of space, along with very usefull athmospheric data from the eclipse cone.

The space balloon, named Eclipser 1, was launched in N-E Queensland, Australia, from the outback, 230 miles away north-west from city of Cairns, in the early morning of 14th November (5:21 AM, local time). Eclipser 1 had on-board photo-video equipment, but also an APRS telemetric and GPS systems for the live tracking of the flight and scientific sensors.

The mission of Eclipser 1 was to fly in the cone of TSE and hit an altitude of 25 km during the full totality phase of Eclipse (6:37 AM, local time) for catching, photo and video, the climax of the astronomic event. After the TSE, Elipser 1 continue to rise until burst, 36,9 km altitude – the third place in high-altitude balloons Australian flight from all times.

The team responsible for this experiment was composed of :
Catalin Beldea (RO), project leader, eclipse chaser, amateur astronomer
Florin Mingireanu (RO), Aerospace engineer, scientific researcher at Romanian Space Agency ROSA
Marc Ulieriu (RO), Editor-in-Chief of Stiinta & Tehnica — the oldest popular science magazine in Romania and the organizer of this experiment
Adrian Florescu (RO), radio tracking specialist
Joe Cali (AUS), Legislative compliance, protocols, approvals and liason with CASA and Air Services Australia Air traffic control in Cairns and Brisbane, logistics support
Howard Small (AUS), radio tracking specialist
Samantha Scafe (AUS), radio tracking specialist

The same Romanian team is responsible for two succesfull stratospheric flights, in Eastern Europe, Romania: Stratospherium I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHgP_dfMaCE a space balloon which reached 35,4 km / 116.155 ft) altitude in October 2011, a record for Central and Eastern Europe and also the first space balloon which took tremendous photography of Romania from near out of space) and Stratospherium II (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNUf5y2NpJQ 30 km / 98400 ft) altitude in August 2012).

The Eclipser 1 experiment was organized by Stiinta&Tehnica Magazine together with ROSA and powered by Duracell.