In Our Skies, March 2023: Hybrid Solar Eclipse

by Shaphan Shank | Feb 27, 2023 | 0 comments

One of the closest planetary conjunctions of the year will occur on the first evening of March. On this evening, the two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus, will approach to about 0.5° from each other. The brilliant pair will be visible in the west for a couple hours after sunset.

A hybrid solar eclipse will take place on April 20. Hybrid eclipses occur when the Moon is just far enough from Earth to appear about the same size as the Sun. These eclipses begin as total eclipses and end as annular eclipses, or vice versa. The April 20 eclipse will begin in the Indian Ocean as a total eclipse, crossing the northwestern corner of Australia and several Indonesian islands before ending as an annular eclipse in the Pacific. A partial eclipse will be visible from most of Oceania, as well as Taiwan and small parts of mainland Southeast Asia, China, and Japan.

The Lyrid meteor shower will peak on the night of April 22–23. This shower typically produces a peak ZHR of 15–20 meteors, with a higher-than-average proportion of bright meteors. This year’s Lyrid shower peaks just a few days after New Moon, so moonlight will not interfere with observing the shower. Like most meteor showers, the Lyrid shower produces the highest rates in the early morning hours.

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