Hope you’re all having a fantastic Christmas season!
Here at Star Name Registry, we’ll be closing the office for Christmas 😊 But if you’re putting off naming a star until January and looking for some stellar events to give you inspiration here are some astronomy adventures you can in the meantime.
Thursday, December 21 at 11:28 a.m. EST – Northern Winter Solstice & Southern Summer Solstice
On December 21, the sun will reach the southernmost point for the year. Because the sun is so low in the sky, we’ll be getting the shortest day of the year. From that day onward the sun will only be getting higher in the sky until the summer solstice. But that’s only if you’re in the northern hemisphere.
If you live in the southern hemisphere, you’ll be having the summer solstice and the longest day of the year! So our Aussie Star Namers among us can expect a lot of sunshine while we all freeze up here in the North.
Thursday-Friday, December 21–22 midnight to dawn – Ursid Meteor Shower Peak
While not one of the better-known astronomical events, the Ursid Meteor shower is still great if you want to get a meteor shower fix for the Christmas period.
On December 22 we’ll see a peak in the number of meteors with up to 20 meteors per hour happening. You’ll have to pull a late one though as the best time to keep your eyes peeled will be from midnight to dawn. The best place to keep looking to see the meteors will be just above the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor) near Polaris –
And it is the Ursa Minor Constellation that The Ursids device their name from.
The meteors actually originate from the Comet 8P/Tuttle. It goes around the sun every 14 years and is not a very bright comet, due to its many trips around the sun.
The meteor shower itself occurs when Earth passes through the trail of dust and debris left along the comet’s orbit.
Saturday, December 30 early evening – Moon Occults Aldebaran
Perhaps one for those of you with a telescope, – you can see the occult of Aldebaran.
Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus and on the 30th the moon will pass right over the whole constellation.
But Aldebaran will shine through on the bottom left-hand side of the moon, winking ever so slightly – like in the picture below. This will probably only be able to be seen in the early hours of the evening though, you’ll need to still be up after all the Christmas parties.
Aldebaran is one of those lesser-known stars, so it’s good to see the moon adopting a star that needs more love.
Those are all the big stellar events to keep your eyes peeled over Christmas. Whether you have chosen to name a star after yourself, to name a star for someone you know, or to name a star in memory of someone this Christmas, these stellar events are for everyone to see and enjoy.
We hope you all have a great Christmas.