The year's special events in the sky
Sun: Looking at the Sun either with the unaided eye or through binoculars or a telescope is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS ! PERMANENT EYE DAMAGE CAN AND PROBABLY WILL OCCUR. Click here to find out how to observe the Sun safely.
The Moon is ideal for viewing in the week centred on the First Quarter phase, both regarding the sights presented and the most convenient time for observing (evenings). In addition, it is quite high in the sky at sunset. First Quarter in 2023 will occur on the following dates:
2023: January 29; February 27; March 29; April 27; May 27; June 26; July 25; August 24; September 23; October 22; November 20; December 20.
Eclipses in 2023:
PENUMBRAL, MAY 6: The next lunar eclipse visible from Australia will occur on this night, poorly timed to begin at 1:14 am. Maximum eclipse will be at 3:22 am and the eclipse will end at 5:31 am. Sunrise is at 6:15 am and the Moon will set six minutes later. The Earth's umbra is its main shadow, and an umbral eclipse is very spectacular as the Full Moon is "eaten up" as it enters the umbra. On the other hand, the Earth's penumbra is very faint, and a penumbral eclipse of the Moon is not spectacular at all. In fact, it is hardly noticeable, and a casual observer might not even detect that the Full Moon is not as bright as normal. This penumbral eclipse will be visible in the night-time hours in Australia, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, but most people will not discern anything out of the ordinary.
Observers in Perth with a two-hour time difference will see the penumbral eclipse begin at 2:01 am AWST. The umbral phase will begin at 3:35 am AWST. Mid-eclipse will be at 4:14 am AWST, but only 12.2% of the Moon will be in the Earth's umbra. The Moon will set in Perth at 5:23 am AWST, but the eclipse will not end until 6:26 am AWST. All observers on the night side of the Earth will be able to see this eclipse, but people in England will be able to see it in its entirety from 7:01 pm (their time) to 11:26 pm. However, it is only a partial eclipse and all people who are able to see all of it will still be limited to the sight of only 12.2% of the Moon being in shadow.
The next total eclipse of the Moon visible from the Sunshine Coast will be on September 8, 2025, in the hours before dawn. Here are the circumstances:
Moon enters Earth's penumbra: 1:28 am AEST; Partial eclipse begins at 2:27 am; Total eclipse begins at 3:31 am; Mid-eclipse is at 4:12 am; Totality ends at 4:53 am; Partial eclipse ends at 5:56 am; Eclipse ends at 6:55 am; Sun rises at 5:54 am; Moon sets at 5:55 am.
TOTAL, APRIL 20: The path of totality of this "Australian Eclipse" of the Sun begins in the Southern Ocean near the island of Kerguelen. It proceeds north-east and skims the Western Australian coast at North-West Cape. The town of Exmouth on the Exmouth Peninsula will be the best place to view the total phase of the eclipse, which will last only 1 minute and 16 seconds. The short duration is due to the fact that the Moon is only slightly larger in angular size (31' 59.79") than the Sun (31' 50.85") at the appointed time (11:29 am Australian Western Standard Time). When the Moon is near its closest distance from Earth (perigee) on the day of an eclipse, then it looks slightly larger and totality has a longer duration (6 minutes or more). The Moon in April will be at perigee on April 16, and will be heading out to apogee on April 28. This short duration also means that the path of totality will be much narrower, so eclipse-chasers will have to be careful that they are in the right position. Also, craters and valleys at the edge (limb) of the Moon may allow sunlight to shine through even during totality, giving the impression of a circle of brilliant points of light.
The Exmouth Peninsula is the only place in Australia where totality will be experienced. The path of totality then heads north-east over the Timor Sea to Timor-Leste (East Timor) and crosses the Banda Sea to the isthmus that attaches the Vogelkop (Bird's Head) Peninsula to the rest of New Guinea. These are the only places to observe a total eclipse, apart from on cruise ships at sea. Exmouth is predicted to have up to 30% cloud cover, Timor 60%, and New Guinea 80% or worse.
The further away from the path of totality an observer is, the less of the Sun will be covered by the Moon. Observers at towns north-east of Exmouth, such as Onslow, Dampier, Karratha and Port Hedland will see the Sun reduced to a fine sliver of light, but no total eclipse. In Darwin the Moon will cover 84.5% of the Moon at maximum, and in Perth 76.6%. These will be seen as partial eclipses, and every place in Australia will be able to enjoy the spectacle, weather complying. The further away an observer is from the path of totality, the less of the Sun will be eclipses. Here are some examples: Dili (Timor Leste) - 98%; Rabaul - 76.5%; Port Moresby - 67.3%; Alice Springs - 57.6%; Cairns - 52.7%; Jakarta - 49.6%; Adelaide - 32.4%; Sunshine Coast (Queensland) - 28.4%; Brisbane - 27.0%; Melbourne - 20.5%; Canberra - 19.2%; Auckland - 6.5%; Wellington - 1.1%.
From the Sunshine Coast the partial phase will begin at 1:43 pm, maximum eclipse
(28%) will occur at 2:46 pm, and the eclipse will end at 3:44 pm. The duration
will be 2 hours 1 minute.
From Brisbane the partial phase will begin at 1:43 pm, maximum eclipse (27%)
will occur at 2:44 pm, and the eclipse will end at 3:41 pm. The duration will be
1 hour 58 minutes.
the partial phase will begin at 1:15 pm, maximum eclipse (20%) will occur at
2:09 pm, and the eclipse will end at 3:01 pm. The duration will be 1 hour 46
From the Sunshine Coast the partial phase will begin at 1:43 pm, maximum eclipse (28%) will occur at 2:46 pm, and the eclipse will end at 3:44 pm. The duration will be 2 hours 1 minute.
From Brisbane the partial phase will begin at 1:43 pm, maximum eclipse (27%) will occur at 2:44 pm, and the eclipse will end at 3:41 pm. The duration will be 1 hour 58 minutes.
the partial phase will begin at 1:15 pm, maximum eclipse (20%) will occur at 2:09 pm, and the eclipse will end at 3:01 pm. The duration will be 1 hour 46 minutes.These times are Australian Eastern Standard Time.
HOW TO OBSERVE A SOLAR ECLIPSE SAFELY:
Do not look directly at the Sun with your naked eye, or through glasses, sun glasses, even very dark sunglasses, or welding goggles.
At no stage of the eclipse (or any
other time) should you look at the Sun through a camera, binoculars, telescope or other optical
device such as neutral density filters, as the concentrated sunlight may damage
them and cause permanent eye injury.
Do not use home-made filters, only
special solar filters such as eclipse glasses or approved hand-held solar
viewers, to view the eclipse.
Read and follow filter
instructions, and supervise children carefully.
Inspect your solar viewer before
using it. If it has a scratch or any other damage, even if only minor, discard
At no stage of the eclipse (or any other time) should you look at the Sun through a camera, binoculars, telescope or other optical device such as neutral density filters, as the concentrated sunlight may damage them and cause permanent eye injury.
Do not use home-made filters, only special solar filters such as eclipse glasses or approved hand-held solar viewers, to view the eclipse.
Read and follow filter instructions, and supervise children carefully.
Inspect your solar viewer before using it. If it has a scratch or any other damage, even if only minor, discard it.
Pinhole projection is a safe way to view the Sun indirectly: make a pinhole in a piece of white card. Do not look at the Sun through the pinhole but let the Sun shine though the pinhole to make an image on a second piece of white card held a short distance from the first one. Click here for a video.
ANNULAR, OCTOBER 15 (AEST): This annular eclipse of the Sun will only be visible from North, Central and South America. The path of totality will strike the US west coast near Salem, Oregon (north of San Francisco) and head south-east, passing near Boise, Idaho, Salt Lake City in Utah, Albuquerque in New Mexico, and Houston, Texas before crossing the Gulf of Mexico. It crosses the Belize Peninsula at Belmopan, then passes through Managua in Nicaragua, San Jose in Costa Rica, Panama City, Bogota in Colombia before entering Brazil. It turns east across the Amazon jungle and reaches the South Atlantic coast in the vicinity of Recife. The eclipse ends before reaching Equatorial Africa.
This eclipse will not be visible from Queensland's Sunshine Coast as it occurs when the Sun is below our horizon.
Queensland's Sunshine Coast will
have a chance to see a total solar
eclipse at 12:56 pm on July 22, 2028, the eclipse
track running from Wyndham through Alice Springs to Birdsville and then Sydney,
before crossing the Tasman Sea to Dunedin in New Zealand's South Island.
They will need to travel to the eclipse track.
They will need to travel to the eclipse track.The biggest town close to the Sunshine Coast which will be in the path of totality is Dubbo, easily reached via the Newell Highway. At Dubbo this eclipse of the Sun will last from 12:34 pm until 3:12 pm, and the total phase will last for 3 minutes 51 seconds. There is a 57% chance that the day will not be cloudy.The path of totality will pass over Sydney, which will be a great thrill for the 5.4 million people living there, if it is a clear day (53% chance).
The Planets in 2023:
Perihelion º º
January 7: Inferior conjunction
January 18: Western stationary point
January 30: Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky (24
February 16: Aphelion
March 17: Superior conjunction
April 1: Perihelion
April 12: Greatest elongation from Sun in evening sky (19
April 21: Eastern stationary point
May 2: Inferior conjunction
May 15: Aphelion
May 15: Western stationary point
May 29: Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky (24
June 28: Perihelion
July 1: Superior conjunction
August 10: Greatest elongation from Sun in evening sky (27
August 11: Aphelion
August 24: Eastern stationary point
September 6: Inferior conjunction
September 16: Western stationary point
September 22: Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky (17
September 24: Perihelion
October 20: Superior conjunction
November 7: Aphelion
December 5: Greatest elongation from Sun in evening sky (21
December 13: Eastern stationary point
December 21: Perihelion
December 23: Inferior conjunction
The best times for observing Mercury in the evening sky are: last two weeks of April; mid-July to late August, mid-November to mid-December.
The best times for observing Mercury in the morning sky are:
mid-January to second
week of February, mid-May to third week of June, last two weeks of September,
2024: January to first two weeks in February.
Venus: April 18: Perihelion
June 5: Greatest elongation from Sun in evening sky (45
July 23: Eastern stationary point
August 8: Aphelion
August 13: Inferior conjunction
September 4: Western stationary point
September 24: Greatest elongation from Sun in morning sky (46
November 28: Perihelion
June 5, 2024: Superior conjunction
From January to the end of July, Venus will be a dominant object in the western twilight sky as an 'Evening Star'. In mid-April it will appear as a little 'gibbous Moon' with a phase of 72% and a diameter of 15 arcseconds. At the beginning of June it will appear like a small 'half-Moon' with a phase of 50%, but its diameter will have increased to 23.5 arcseconds. By the middle of July its phase will have reduced to 20% (like a crescent Moon), but as its angular size will have increased to 42 arcseconds, its brightness will remain unchanged at magnitude -4.6. Venus will pass through inferior conjunction (between the Earth and the Sun) on August 13, and will therefore move from the evening sky to the pre-dawn sky. Whereas on very rare occasions Venus will pass in front of the Sun at such times (a 'transit of Venus'), on this occasion Venus will pass 7.5
ºsouth of the Sun's limb (edge). In the morning sky, Venus will appear as a crescent during September, and as a 'half-Moon' on October 23. Towards the end of the year it will have shrunk in size and increased in phase until it appears as a tiny 'gibbous Moon'. Venus will become visible in the western evening sky again in August 2024..
October 2022 June 2023
October 2022 June 2023 July 2023 September 2023 October 2023
Mars:January 13: Eastern stationary point (angular diameter = 13.1")
Jupiter:April 12: Conjunction
Saturn:February 17: Conjunction
Uranus:January 23: Eastern stationary point
Uranus will spend 2023 in the constellation of Aries, where it will remain until it enters Taurus on May 17, 2024.
Neptune:March 16: Conjunction
Neptune begins the year In Aquarius, but crosses into Pisces on March 3. It will remain in Pisces until April 12, 2028.
Pluto:January 19: Conjunction
Pluto begins the year in Sagittarius, but crosses into Capricornus on March 1, heading east. It will begin its annual retrograde loop on May 2 and will move westwards back into Sagittarius on July 9, reaching opposition on July 22. It will finish its retrograde loop on October 11 and will cease its westwards motion. Pluto will resume its eastwards motion, and will cross back into Capricornus on January 3, 2024. Pluto will leave Capricornus on March 13, 2039.
February 8: Alpha-Centaurids
April 22: Lyrids
The 3.9 metre Anglo-Australian Telescope near Coonabarabran, NSW
The main Constellations visible at about 8.00 pm each month, from the horizon to the zenith:
Hydra, Canis Minor, Canis Major, Puppis
South: Crux, Musca, Carina, Vela, Pavo
West: Aquarius, Capricornus, Pisces, Grus, Piscis Austrinus, Phoenix, Cetus, Eridanus
North: Aries, Perseus, Taurus, Auriga, Gemini, Orion
East:Leo, Crater, Corvus, Hydra, Canis Major, Puppis
Virgo, Libra, Lupus, Centaurus, Corvus, Crater, Hydra, Crux, Musca, Vela
South: Triangulum Australe, Toucan, Carina, Puppis
West: Phoenix, Cetus, Eridanus, Taurus, Orion, Canis Major
North: Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Canis Minor
Bootes, Libra, Scorpius, Virgo, Centaurus, Lupus, Ara, Crux, Musca, Corvus
South: Triangulum Australe, Pavo, Carina, Vela
West: Eridanus, Orion, Gemini, Canis Minor, Canis Major, Puppis
North: Cancer, Ursa Major, Leo, Crater, Hydra
Corona Borealis, Serpens, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Libra, Scorpius, Ara,
South: Indus, Pavo, Triangulum Australe, Crux, Musca, Carina
West: Canis Major, Canis Minor, Cancer, Puppis, Hydra
North: Ursa Major, Leo, Coma Berenices,Bootes, Virgo, Crater, Corvus
Ophiuchus, Capricornus, Sagittarius, Scorpius
South: Pavo, Triangulum Australe, Ara, Lupus, Crux, Musca
West: Hydra, Leo, Carina, Vela, Puppis, Crater, Corvus
North: Coma Berenices, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Virgo, Serpens, Libra
Aquarius, Delphinus, Grus, Capricornus, Aquila, Sagittarius, Scorpius
South: Carina, Musca, Crux, Ara, Triangulum Australe, Centaurus
West: Hydra, Crater, Corvus, Virgo, Vela, Libra
North: Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra, Ophiuchus, Serpens
Aquarius, Phoenix, Piscis Austrinus, Grus, Sagittarius
South: Eridanus, Musca, Crux, Triangulum Australe
West: Corvus, Virgo, Bootes, Libra, Centaurus, Ara, Lupus, Scorpius
North: Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus, Delphinus, Aquila
Pisces, Cetus, Eridanus, Phoenix, Piscis Austrinus, Grus, Aquarius,
South: Crux, Musca, Triangulum Australe, Pavo
West: Centaurus, Libra, Serpens, Ophiuchus, Scorpius, Lupus, Ara
North: Lyra, Cygnus, Pegasus, Delphinus, Aquila
Eridanus, Cetus, Aries, Piscis Austrinus
South: Hydrus, Centaurus, Musca, Triangulum Australe, Ara, Pavo, Grus
West: Lupus, Scorpius, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, Aquila, Capricornus
North: Cygnus, Delphinus, Pegasus, Andromeda, Aquarius
Taurus, Eridanus, Cetus, Phoenix
South: Carina, Musca, Triangulum Australe, Pavo
West: Scorpius, Sagittarius, Aquila, Delphinus, Capricornus, Grus, Piscis Austrinus
North: Pegasus, Andromeda, Aries, Pisces, Cetus, Aquarius
Taurus, Orion, Canis Major, Puppis, Carina, Eridanus
South: Carina, Musca, Pavo
West: Capricornus, Aquarius, Grus, Piscis Austrinus, Phoenix
North: Pegasus, Andromeda, Aries, Perseus, Cetus
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