Look Up - Our Night Skies in 2023 - 96five Family Radio

Look Up – Our Night Skies in 2023

From a total solar eclipse to the Eta Aquariids meteor shower, there are plenty of cosmic marvels lighting up the 2023 night sky.

By Steff WillisWednesday 18 Jan 2023EnvironmentReading Time: 2 minutes

There’s never been a better time than now to keep an eye on the night sky with plenty of celestial wonders to enjoy in 2023.

From a total solar eclipse in April to a meteor shower in May, the celestial calendar for 2023 is filling up.

96five’s Arthur Muhl caught up with Professor Jonti Horner, an Astrophysics expert at the University of Southern Queensland to learn more.

“One of the things that’s really striking me at the moment is that we’ve got all of the planets that you can see with the unaided eye, except for Mercury, visible in the evening sky all at the same time” said Professor Horner.

“Another good thing at this time of year is that we’ve got Orion high in the sky to the north, northeast and for those who want to learn the constellations, learn their way around the night sky, Orion’s a really good starting point.”

Professor Jonti Horner

Professor Jonti Horner / Source: Supplied

“It’s still my passion as well as my job. It’s something I’ve been fascinated with since I was about 5 years old so that’s coming 4 decades worth of fascination now and there’s always something new to see.” Professor Jonti Horner

The first celestial event to keep an eye for is as soon as next week on the 23rd of January 2023 where Venus and Saturn will pass each other in the night sky.

“On the 23rd, the two are actually going to pass each other in the sky and be joined by the very thin crescent moon, only half an hour after sunset. So if you can find Venus, there’s a really nice photograph there that you can frame up and it will look really impressive.”

Meteor Showers

“In May we have the Eta Aquariids meteor shower and that’s the second-best meteor shower of the year for us here in Australia.”

“It’s a spectacle that’s really best seen in the hours before sunrise…as the night goes on you’ll see more and more shooting stars.”

The best meteor shower for the year will happen on the night of the 14th in December.

Total Eclipse

While it’s not as special in our region, travelers to or locals from Western Australia should be aware of a total eclipse of the sun happening in April.

“If you make your way to Exmouth or the peninsula that Exmouth sits on, you’ll be bang underneath the track of totality where the moons shadow is crossing the earth” said Professor Horner.

“The moon and the sun will line up perfectly and the moon will make the sun disappear, the sky will go dark… it will be really spectacular for just a few minutes.”

Listen to the full interview in the player above.

Feature Image: Mt Kent Facility (Supplied)