Are you a Canadian stargazing enthusiast? If so, 2023 is going to be an incredible year for you! There are a variety of stargazing events happening across Canada that will be sure to delight and inspire. From meteor showers to eclipses and more, here are the 2023 stargazing events in Canada you won't want to miss!
Eclipses in 2023
If you are a fan of stargazing, you won’t want to miss the eclipses that will be happening in 2023! During this year, four eclipses will occur: two solar and two lunar. The first eclipse will be a partial solar eclipse that takes place on April 8th, and the second will be an annular solar eclipse on October 14th. The two lunar eclipses will be a penumbral lunar eclipse on May 26th, and a total lunar eclipse on November 19th.
In addition to these eclipses, there will also be several meteor showers throughout the year. The first of these meteor showers is the Lyrid Meteor Shower, which will take place from April 16th-25th. This will be followed by the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower in May or June, the Orionid Meteor Shower in October, the Leonid Meteor Shower in November, and the Geminids Meteor Shower in December. Make sure to check out these spectacular displays in the night sky!
Mars is one of the most interesting planets to observe in the night sky, and this is especially true in 2023. While there will be no meteor showers associated with Mars, you can still catch a glimpse of it in the night sky throughout the year. On the night of April 8th and 9th, the two planets will be visible to the naked eye, although they will be at their closest on April 8th. The Red Planet will also be seen just above the horizon as a bright point of light on the night of June 10th, as Mars passes its closest point to Earth since 2003. As an added bonus, this will also be a great opportunity to spot some meteors as they pass through our atmosphere while Mars is at its brightest.
April 16-25: The Lyrid Meteor Shower
If you’re looking for a spectacular show of celestial fireworks, make sure to add the Lyrid Meteor Shower to your list of must-see events in 2023. The Lyrids occur annually from April 16th to April 25th, with the peak night of activity being on the night of April 22nd. During the peak, you can expect to see up to 18 meteors per hour streaking across the sky.
The meteors appear to originate from the constellation Lyra, which is why they are called the Lyrids. Although the meteors tend to be faint, they can be quite brilliant at times and often leave behind trails of smoke in their wake. This makes them especially beautiful and memorable when viewed through binoculars or a telescope.
It’s best to view the Lyrids after midnight, when the constellation Lyra rises high into the night sky. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get settled and find a spot with a clear view of the horizon. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for other celestial wonders such as planets, constellations, and star clusters while meteor showering!
May/June: The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
The Eta Aquarids meteor shower is an annual event that will peak this year in May and June of 2023. This meteor shower is best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere, which makes Canada a great spot to observe this celestial event. The Eta Aquarids meteor shower produces up to 60 meteors per hour, so it’s a great time to lay out a blanket and look up at the sky!
The Eta Aquarids are made up of debris left behind by Halley’s Comet, and are visible in the night sky as tiny, fast streaks of light. These meteors can travel at speeds of up to 66 km/s and appear to come from the constellation of Aquarius.
If you’re in Canada during the months of May and June, it’s worth checking out the Eta Aquarids meteor shower. It’s a spectacular event that will provide you with a memorable experience under the stars.
October 2-November 7: The Orionid Meteor Shower
The Orionid Meteor Shower is one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year. This shower, which occurs annually from October 2nd to November 7th, is known for its stunning display of meteors that light up the night sky with streaks of color. During peak hours of the shower, observers can expect to see anywhere from 10 to 20 meteors per hour! The Orionids are also known for their high speeds, as they travel at 41 miles per second.
The Orionid Meteor Shower is caused by debris left behind by Halley’s Comet, which makes its closest approach to Earth every 75-76 years. As Earth moves through the comet’s orbit, it passes through the debris cloud that the comet leaves behind. This produces the spectacular sight of hundreds of meteors per hour, an event that many stargazers look forward to all year long.
Although the Orionids are visible throughout the Northern Hemisphere during its active period, the best time to observe them is usually a few days after their peak. On these nights, the meteor shower should be more visible due to the moon being in its crescent phase and providing less light pollution.
So if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, don’t miss out on this amazing meteor shower! Grab a blanket and a thermos of hot chocolate and enjoy the celestial show.
November 15-20: The Leonid Meteor Shower
The Leonid meteor shower is one of the most spectacular and popular meteor showers of the year. It typically occurs each year from November 15th to 20th, with peak activity taking place on the 17th or 18th. During this time, stargazers can expect to see up to 15 meteors per hour during its peak.
The Leonid meteor shower has been observed since at least the 9th century and is a result of Earth passing through a cloud of dust particles left by comet Tempel-Tuttle. These particles burn up in our atmosphere and create beautiful meteors, or "shooting stars," as they streak across the night sky.
If you’re looking to get the best view of this celestial event, then head outside during the late evening hours and find a dark, open area with minimal light pollution. With clear skies and some luck, you can witness the spectacular sight of dozens of bright streaks of light streaking across the night sky as part of the Leonid meteor shower.
December 13-14: The Geminids Meteor Shower
The Geminids Meteor Shower is one of the most spectacular and active meteor showers in the sky. It takes place annually around December 13-14 and can produce up to 120 meteors per hour. The Geminids are known for their vibrant yellow, green, and orange colors, creating a beautiful display of shooting stars. This meteor shower is caused by an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, which sheds dust particles as it moves through space. The Geminids is also unique because unlike most meteor showers which originate from comets, this one originates from an asteroid. As with all meteor showers, it’s best to find a dark area away from city lights, and watch the night sky for the shooting stars.
The Great Conjunction
The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, sometimes referred to as the “Christmas Star” is a rare phenomenon that occurs every 20 years or so. In 2023, this celestial event will be visible from Canada in December, although the exact date and time are still yet to be determined. During the Great Conjunction, Jupiter and Saturn will appear close together in the night sky and form a ‘double planet’. This will be the first time since 1623 that the planets have been seen so close together in the night sky.
The event will be best viewed with the naked eye and will not require a telescope or binoculars to appreciate. The exact timing of the event will depend on the location in Canada, but it’s expected to occur at sunset in some regions. It will be a great opportunity to witness the spectacle of a comet, a planet, an eclipse and a meteor shower all at once!
December 17-26: The Ursids Meteor Shower
Every December, between the 17th and the 26th, the earth passes through the debris field left by Comet 8P/Tuttle – resulting in the Ursids Meteor Shower. Although this meteor shower is not as active as some of the others, it is still worth looking out for.
The Ursids Meteor Shower appears to originate from the constellation Ursa Minor and is characterized by its faint and often unpredictable activity. Generally, up to 10 meteors can be seen per hour, although this number can increase depending on the year. During peak activity, rates can reach up to 50 meteors per hour.
This meteor shower is considered a minor one and is best observed away from sources of light pollution. The best time to view it is in the hours before dawn. So if you’re up for a night of stargazing, make sure to mark your calendar for the Ursids Meteor Shower and get ready for a great show!
July 3-Aug 1: Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)
This comet was discovered in March 2020 and is expected to be visible in the night sky this year. This will be a spectacular sight that stargazers won't want to miss! From July 3rd to August 1st, Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is set to make its way across the sky. The best time to catch a glimpse of this celestial event is just before dawn, when the night sky is at its darkest. It's important to note that, while some of the meteor showers during the year are more prominent, Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) will provide a unique and stunning view for those lucky enough to see it. The comet should remain visible until early August, so keep an eye out for this amazing celestial event!
Dwarf Planet Ceres
Ceres is the closest dwarf planet to Earth, and it will be visible in the night sky of Canada throughout 2023. It is likely that it will be most visible in late June and July. During these months, it will be easily seen with a pair of binoculars or a telescope, though you won't be able to spot it with the naked eye.
The proximity of Ceres to Earth is a great opportunity for stargazers to witness an incredible celestial event. On the nights of July 9-13 and August 6-10, Ceres will pass in front of two prominent meteor showers – the Alpha Capricornids and the Delta Aquariids respectively. This means that you'll be able to see not only Ceres, but also several meteors shooting across the night sky at once! With this opportunity, you can really appreciate the beauty of our solar system and get a unique look at what goes on beyond our planet.