Today, December 21, 2018, is winter solstice in North America, formally the shortest day of the yr. As we have fun the growing sunlight hours to come back, look to the sky tonight and mark the event with the spectacular Ursid meteor bathe and a full Moon.
Winter solstice comes and goes yearly, marking the rhythmic tilt of Earth each towards and away from the Sun. However, this yr it will likely be accompanied by an astronomical present. Below we’ll cowl tips on how to watch the Ursid meteor bathe, the place the total Moon is finest seen and the way widespread or unusual it’s for these occasions to align.
What Is The Winter Solstice?
Winter solstice is the purpose at which Earth’s axis is tilted as far from the Sun as it will likely be all yr. The most tilt away from the Sun within the Northern Hemisphere means the shortest day of the yr and longest evening of the yr in 2018.
During the identical time, the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing their summer time solstice, marking the longest day of the yr. In June of 2019, the roles will reverse and thus continues the ever marching seasons. As you may think about, the upper latitudes (New England, Canada, Alaska, and so forth.) will expertise a way more pronounced winter solstice. Some locations within the very excessive latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere will expertise little to no daylight in any respect.
According to Alaska.org, the desk under signifies the size of a day in numerous components of Alaska. Barrow, Alaska is sort of a month into its 67 days of full darkness the place the Sun by no means rises.
|Town||High Temperature Today||Sunrise||Sunset||Total Daylight|
|Juneau||38°F||eight:45 AM||three:07 PM||6 hours 22 minutes|
|Anchorage||21°F||10:14 AM||three:42 PM||5 hours 28 minutes|
|Fairbanks||-10°F||10:50 AM||2:41 PM||three hours 42 minutes|
|Barrow (330 miles north of Arctic Circle)||-2°F||23-Jan||18-Nov||67 days of darkness|
Barrow, Alaska is north of the Arctic circle, which is the road above which they expertise days of full darkness in some unspecified time in the future within the yr.
The map under signifies the place of the Sun and areas of daylight versus darkness at sundown at present in New York City, four:32pm EST.
How To Watch The Ursid Meteor Shower
The Ursid meteor bathe has already begun, beginning on December 17 and lasting till December 24. The meteor bathe will peak between December 22 and 23 with as much as 10 meteors per hour coming into Earth’s ambiance. While the height will happen a day after the winter solstice, you may nonetheless simply see the meteor bathe tonight, however there could also be fewer seen meteors.
It is known as the Ursid meteor bathe as a result of it seems to come back from the Ursa Minor constellation within the sky. For hour by hour directions on tips on how to watch the meteor bathe, head over to TimeandDate.com, which offers the azimuth and altitude of the meteor bathe based mostly in your location every hour.
Thankfully, the meteor bathe will not require you to exit and purchase any gear. A clear sky and an excellent view of the celebrities is sufficient to expertise the meteor bathe. To improve your probability of seeing the meteor bathe, attempt to discover a darkish space outdoors of a metropolis with little to no man-made lights. Light air pollution from cities and neighborhoods will make it harder to expertise the occasion. Be positive to decorate in layers and convey a heat blanket. Lastly, simply be affected person.
The Winter Solstice Full Moon
The moon will look like a full moon tonight, nevertheless, the technical full moon of December is not till Saturday, December 22. The Full Cold Moon, named after the total moon marking the start of the coldest a part of the yr, will add to the general expertise tonight.
While the total moon could make it harder to see the Ursid meteor bathe, it should, in its personal method, create a novel imprint on the winter solstice.
The diagram above lays out the moonrise in New York City tonight, with moonset at 5:46 am and moonrise at three:53 pm. It additionally signifies the situation of the moon because it rises so you may pull out your binoculars or telescope in case you have one. This might be an incredible alternative to get a greater view of the complete moon because it’s on show.
No matter how you’ve got spent the winter solstice in previous years, winter solstice 2018 ought to be spent on a darkish hill trying up on the astronomical present.
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