Sun, moon and planets: At the beginning of 2023, the lion takes its place in the starry sky – and thus already indicates the coming spring. There will hardly be any eclipses in 2023. But two streams of shooting stars bring more than a hundred meteors per hour.
The year 2023 has numerous highlights in the night sky to offer. At the beginning of the year, the winter night sky is particularly rich in bright stars and a meteor shower delivers up to 130 shooting stars per hour. Later in the year there is a partial lunar eclipse. An overview:
The brightest fixed star in the terrestrial firmament, Sirius in the Canis Major, flickers at the beginning of the year in a bluish-white light halfway up in the south-east. Orion with reddish shoulder star Betelgeuse and foot star Rigel can be seen to the south. High above our heads is the yellowish capella, the main star in the Fuhrmann. Aldebaran, the reddish bull’s eye, draws attention to itself in the southwest.
Gemini can be seen in the eastern sky with their bright stars Castor and Pollux. The Big Dog is followed by the Little Dog with its yellowish main star Procyon. Leo takes his place low in the eastern sky. It has just risen and heralds the coming of spring. The bright stars Sirius, Procyon, Castor, Capella, Aldebaran, and Rigel form the winter hexagon, which is easy to spot in the starry sky.
The year 2023 turns out to be extremely dark for Central Europe. Of the four eclipses that will take place in 2023, only the partial lunar eclipse on October 28 can be followed here. The annular total solar eclipse of April 20 and the annular solar eclipse of October 14 remain unobservable from Central Europe. The penumbral lunar eclipse of May 5 also remains unobservable from Central Europe.
Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, is only visible to the naked eye for a few days a year. From late March to mid-April, the nimble planet can be seen low in the southwestern sky for about half an hour at dusk. It can be seen in the morning sky in late January and mid-September to early October.
Venus is the evening star from January to the end of July. On July 7th it shines in maximum brightness in the evening sky. On August 13, it overtakes Earth on the inside orbit. It lingers in the daytime sky and is invisible at night. At the end of August it appears in the morning sky. On September 19th it shines with maximum brightness in the morning sky. She continues to play her role as the evening star well beyond the end of the year.
Mars will stay in the evening sky until July. Its brightness decreases steadily until the beginning of summer. On November 18, the sun will catch up with it and will be unobservable with it in the daytime sky. In the spring of 2024, the red planet will then appear in the morning sky.
Jupiter will be in conjunction with the Sun on April 11th, making it invisible in the daytime sky. In May, the giant planet reappears in the morning sky. On November 3 he comes in counter-glow or opposition to the Sun in the constellation of Aries. Jupiter can thus be observed throughout the night. The giant planet can be seen in the evening sky until early April 2024.
Saturn, the ringed planet, opposes the Sun on August 27 in the constellation of Aquarius. The ringed planet is represented in the evening sky until the end of the year. On February 16 he will be overtaken by the Sun and will be in an unobservable conjunction with it. At the end of March the ringed planet appears again in the morning sky.
At the beginning of the year, the Quadrantid meteors appear. This periodic meteor shower delivers up to 130 shooting stars per hour at its maximum around January 4th. This makes the Quadrantids one of the richest meteor showers of the year.
In the first week of May, the Eta Aquarids appear. They seem to emanate from the constellation Aquarius. The pronounced maximum is expected in the morning hours of May 6, with up to seventy meteors flaring up per hour.
In August, the most prolific shooting star shower of the year becomes active. From the 10th to the 14th the Perseids flare up. Among them are fairly bright objects called bolides or fireballs. Perseid activity peaks on the night of August 12-13, when more than a hundred meteors flare up every hour.
In mid-November, the Leonids make themselves felt in the morning sky. They seem to come from the constellation Leo. Around the 18th this year around fifteen shooting stars of this stream can be registered.
At the beginning of the year, the sun is in the constellation Sagittarius near the star Nunki. On the afternoon of January 4, the earth rushes through its closest orbital point, 147,099,000 kilometers separating them from the day star. Sunlight reaches us after eight minutes and ten seconds.
On the evening of July 6th, the earth passes the farthest point from the sun in its elliptical orbit. It will then be 152,093,000 kilometers away, giving us seventeen seconds more sunlight than in early January.
Astronomical spring arrives on March 20 at 10:24 p.m. CET, when the sun crosses the celestial equator in a northerly direction. The vernal equinox occurs.
The sun reaches the peak of its annual path at the beginning of summer on June 21 at 4:58 p.m. CEST. The astronomical autumn begins on September 23 at 8.50 CEST with the change of the sun to the southern celestial sphere. At the beginning of winter on December 22 at 4:27 a.m. CET, the sun reaches its lowest point for the year, we experience the longest night of the year.
The year 2023 begins on December 31, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. Central European Time – astronomically speaking. Then the sun passes the point 280 degrees east of the vernal equinox in its apparent annual path. One also speaks of Bessel’s beginning of the year after Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, first director of the Königsberg observatory, today Kaliningrad.
According to the Gregorian calendar, the year 2023 has 365 days as a common year.
The Jewish year 5784 begins at sunset on September 15th. The Jewish New Year’s Day therefore falls on September 16, 2023.
The Islamic year 1445 also begins at sunset on July 18. The first day of the Islamic year 1445 therefore corresponds to July 19, 2023.
The Japanese welcome the year 2683 of the imperial calendar on January 1st.
January 22, 2023 marks the beginning of the 40th year of the 79th cycle of the traditional Chinese calendar. It is the year of the rabbit (gui-mao). This is 4720 years since the beginning of the Chinese calendar.
Mars is the regent of the year 2023. The seven classic planets Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be regents of the year.
Easter Sunday falls on April 9th in 2023. New Year’s Day is a Sunday, and New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday. Ash Wednesday is February 22nd, Ascension Day is May 18th, Pentecost Sunday is May 28th and Corpus Christi is Thursday June 8th. The first Advent falls on Sunday, December 3rd and Christmas Day is on Monday, December 25th.
Central European Summer Time (CEST) will apply from Sunday, March 26th, to Sunday, October 29th, 2023. Clocks are two hours ahead of Universal Time (UTC) during this period. The following applies: CEST = UTC 2 hours. The clocks change at night. On March 26, at 2:00 a.m., the clocks must be put forward one hour to 3:00 a.m. On October 29 at 3:00 a.m. they will be reset to 2:00 a.m.
Surf tip: Nostradamus – Predictions for 2023