Geminid meteor shower, 2012 © Mike Lewinski
Earth at perihelion, or nearest to the Sun at 91.4 million miles (147.1 million kilometers), compared to 94.5 million miles (152.1 million kilometers) when at aphelion, or farthest from the Sun.
Moon reaches last quarter against the stars of Virgo the Maiden. Over the coming week, it rises gradually later from morning to morning, shrinking to a waning crescent as it slowly draws closer to the rising Sun.
Peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower—while not as well-known as the Perseid or Geminid showers, still a strong display to start the year. Discover more about this shower in Highlights.
New Moon—sighting of the first crescent Moon just after sunset (always a challenge) on the 12th marks the start of Rajab, the seventh month of the Moon-based Islamic calendar.
Autumnal equinox…on Mars. Since Mars' year is about twice as long as Earth's, its seasons are also about twice as long. The next change of seasons on Mars—the solstice, transitioning to the northern winter and southern summer—is on June 7, 2024.
Moon at first quarter, rising close to noon, located in the south at sunset. Located against the stars of the constellation Pisces the Fishes, it sets around 1 am.
Full Moon, also known to some indigenous American tribes as the Cold Weather Moon (Nez Perce), the Ice Moon (Ildefonso), and from the Algonquin, a name that has become popular with the media in recent years, the Wolf Moon.
Last quarter Moon occurs at 3:18 pm PT, when the Moon is below the horizon. When we see it next in the night sky, it rises around 2 am PT on the morning of February 3 against the stars of Libra the Scales.
New Moon, sighting of the first visible crescent on February 10 marks the start of Sha'ban, the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
First quarter Moon at 7:01 am PT. The Moon rises a few hours after sunrise and—to the surprise of many—can be seen in the daytime sky.
Full Moon, also known by various other names to indigenous Americans, such as the Black Bear Moon (Kutenai & Tlingit), the Chestnut Moon (Natchez), and the Moon of the Raccoon (Dakotah Sioux).
The Moon completes the third quarter of its orbit and is about to begin the last quarter—hence, the two terms are interchangeable. Look for the Moon low in the south just before dawn, near the bright star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion.
New Moon, sighting of the first crescent after sunset on March 11 marks the start of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Moon-based Islamic calendar. After only four months, Standard Time ends and Daylight Time begins again at 2 am.
Moon at first quarter, visible high overhead at sunset, in the process of exiting the stars of Taurus the Bull and entering those of Gemini the Twins.
Vernal equinox—beginning of spring for Earth's northern hemisphere, and of fall for the southern hemisphere. Equinox fun facts spring forth in Highlights.
The first Full Moon of spring in the contiguous United States arrives during the morning hours of March 25 (at the stroke of midnight for the West Coast, but still technically on the 25th). Names given to this full Moon reflect the beginning of spring, such as the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, and Sap Moon (all Algonquin); also the Deer Moon (Natchez), and Flower Time (Nez Perce).
Easter traditionally falls on the Sunday following the first full Moon of spring. This year, that occurs on March 31.
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