The astronomical summer of 2023. The beginning of the astronomical and calendar summer is ahead of us, and with it the longest day of the year. Although summer nights are short, we will see many interesting phenomena in the sky. Check what you can expect in the near future.
Meteorological summer began on June 1, but from an astronomical and calendar point of view, it is still spring in the world. This week we will say goodbye to this time of year – check when it happens.
Astronomical summer 2023 – when does it start?
This year the astronomical summer will begin June 21 at 16.57 Central European Summer Time. Then the Sun will be at the point of Cancer – it will tower at its zenith over the Tropic of Cancer, i.e. over the tropic located farthest north from the equator for which this is possible.
The summer solstice has the longest days in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest nights. In the center of Poland, the first day of astronomical summer will last 16 hours and 17 minutes. During this period, we also do not have astronomical nights, which should not be confused with white nights from regions closer to the pole. Astronomical night occurs when the Sun is at least 18 degrees below the horizon. The period without astronomical nights in the northern part of Poland lasts for two months from May 21, and in the southern part of our country for a month from June 10.
Calendar summer 2023 – when does it start?
However, the beginning of summer can be defined in several ways. 22th June it is customary to start the calendar summer, which, as every year, will last until September 23. It is a period of the year established by meteorologists in order to make it easier to compare observations carried out in different places.
Summer 2023. Meteor showers, stars
Summer is known for “shooting stars”, or meteors – light trails in the atmosphere created when a rock particle from outer space will fall into the earth’s atmosphere. The most famous meteor shower is the Perseids, active from July 17 to August 24, with a maximum usually on the night of August 12/13 (this year the maximum will fall on August 13 in the middle of the day). Importantly, this year the observations of the Perseids maximum will not be disturbed by the Moon.
In the summer night sky, the Summer Triangle stands out among the stars. This is not a constellation, but an asterism – a characteristic arrangement of stars. It consists of three very bright celestial bodies. Its vertices are Vega from the Lyra constellation, Deneb from the Cygnus constellation and Altair from the Eagle constellation. The Summer Triangle covers a large area in the sky and is visible throughout the summer night.
Summer 2023. Planetary observations
In summer, we can also admire the planets of the solar system. Currently, Venus shines very brightly in the evenings – it is the brightest point we can see. In addition, at the beginning of the astronomical summer, Venus will meet the Moon, whose narrow crescent will pass near her on June 21 and 22. On July 27, there will be a conjunction of Venus and Mercury, which will approach each other at 5.1 degrees. They will then set very quickly, but you will be able to spot them. Mars will also be visible throughout the summer, setting initially about two and ending about one hour after the Sun.
At the beginning of summer, Saturn rises around midnight, but then its visibility period will increase and by the end of August it will rise at sunset. Jupiter will rise about two hours after Saturn throughout the summer, as will Uranus. Jupiter is easy to see with the naked eye, but if we want to see Uranus, we’re going to need a telescope. The telescope is also needed to see Neptune, which will behave similarly to Saturn in terms of rising and setting.
Summer 2023. Full Moons and interesting objects
In summer, full moons will occur on July 3, August 1 and August 31, and new moons on July 17, August 16 and September 15. Throughout July, we will be able to observe the flights of the International Space Station (ISS) over Poland at night, and then again from the end of August. Those who are willing can also try to spot the Chinese Tiangong Space Station, but its flights will be few and it is much less visible than the ISS station.
Interestingly, on July 6, the Earth will be farthest from the Sun in its annual orbital motion. We will then be 152,093,251 kilometers from our star.
Main photo source: Pawel Kazmierczak / Shutterstock