An Astronomical Delight!

By Terry Eliasen, Executive Weather Producer, WBZ
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We should see several of these in our sky tonight!

We should see several of these in our sky tonight!

Lots going on over the next 24 hours in our skies, thought you may be interested to take a look…

1) Earth is at Perihelion! Ok so some of you are saying, “what the heck is that?” It is actually kind of interesting…Today is the day of 2011 when the Earth is closest to the sun! Sure doesn’t feel like it when you step outdoors right? Today the Earth is just 91,399,719 miles away from our closest star, whereas on July 7th (at aphelion) the Earth is 94,508,719 miles away. So why are we colder when the Earth is closest to the sun? It has everything to do with the tilt of the Earth. Our seasons and temperatures truly depend upon the Earth’s tilt, not how close we are to the sun. In fact the Earth receives only 7% more energy at Perihelion than at Aphelion.

2) New Moon…We have a new moon tonight at 4:03am (actually tomorrow morning). And to top that off folks in parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia will be greeted by a partial solar eclipse tomorrow morning, not happening here unfortunately.

3) And perhaps the cherry on top…drum roll please…tonight is the Quadrantid meteor shower! This is typically one of the year’s best, producing more than 100 meteors per hour. This has a very short peak, likely to be sometime in the week hours of Tuesday morning, before dawn. And the fact that we have a new moon and relatively few clouds means whatever does happen we should have a great view!

Enjoy!

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