Five Celestial Events Mark Begining of year 2014

Year 2014 like any other years has various celestial events lined up for every one of us to be enthralled. Like giving us a hint what is in store year 2014 begins with series of celestial events in the few days itself. Here is the gist.

I. Quadrantids Meteor Shower (28th Dec – 12 Jan) – Peak on 4 Jan: the annual event of Quadrantid Meteor Shower is presently underway. It is visible from 28th Dec to 12 January 2014. However on 4th January 2014 1 a.m. IST it will be at peak. International Meteor Organization (IMO) at least 120 Meteors per hour are estimated to be seen. IMO says the no. of meteors visible may vary from 60 – 120.

Where to look/time: That away from city lights at 3.a.m in clear dark skies.  If one looks at the area between East and North East direction one can see what is popular known as shooting stars. In other words one can see bright streaks of light zipping across the sky and would seem as if they are emanating from the constellation of Bootes. This shower is called “Quadrantids Meteor Shower” because the radiant of this meteor shower lies in Bootes constellation. Telescopes/binoculars are not required to see. 

II. Earth at Perihelion – Closest it can get to Sun  on 4th Jan – 4th July 2014 its farthest  :On 4th January 2014 Planet Earth will be at closest point to Sun in its elliptical orbit around Sun at 0.983AU (14,71,04,373 km or Approx. 147 million km) from Sun. Astronomically this phenomena is known as “Perihelion”.

Whereas on 4th July 2014 Earth will be at Aphelion at 1.017 AU (15,20,93,462 km or approx 152 Million km) from Sun i.e. it will be at farthest point from Sun.   

Jupiter Brightest, Biggest, Closest it can get to Earth till 2020 – Spot Jupiter in evening upto July 2014

On 4th January, 2014 Planet Jupiter will be at the closest it can get to Earth which is resultant of celestial phenomena called “Jupiter Opposition” occuring on 6th Jan 2014.   Planet Jupiter would be at opposition to Sun and hence closest to earth on 4th Jan 2014 shining now at brightness of -2.7 Magnitude.
Due to this phenomenon of opposition Sun- Earth- Jupiter would be opposite to each other from our perspective on earth. And in a line if one can see them from above with Sun &Jupiter on either side of earth. In other words on 6th Jan 2014 Earth passes between the sun and Jupiter, placing Jupiter opposite the sun in our sky. Because of this an observer would note as the Sun sets in west, Jupiter rises (east) in the evening. Whereas as Sun rises in the Morning, Jupiter sets in west. 

On 6th January, 2014 – Closest:  Generally the minimum distance of Jupiter from earth is 588 Million kilometers approx. Whereas the Maximum distance is 967 Million km approx. On the 4th January, 2014 Jupiter will reach closest point at 4.21 A.U. or 629 million km which is very close to its minimum distance from earth. Further this is the closest Jupiter can get to earth till year 2020.

Brightest - Similar Brightness – For a Month: because of its closeness to earth  as of now Planet Jupiter would appear big through telescope and very bright shining at -2.7 Magnitude up to 29th Jan 2014.

Decreasing Brightness & Disappearance from Evening sky in July 2013 :  As earth races away from Jupiter in its orbit brightness would reduce graduallyshining.

 Evening: After an Hour after Sunset if one can look towards East direction quite opposite to direction of sunset one would see Jupiter rising. It will be visible all through the night, at Midnight one can facing Southern direction find it high above head. Morning Walkers:  if one wants look at Jupiter (also known as big brother of our solar system) during morning they can do so one hour before Sunrise towards West Direction quite opposite to where Sun would rise. 

IV. Planet Venus – in Evening till 11 Jan 2014 only – then visible in Mornings in 2014: further since last few months in year 2013 planet Venus was the first bright object visible in western sky. However this Planet will not be visible in Evening skies after 11th January, 2014. As celestial phenomena of Inferior Conjunction will occur on 11th Jan 2014.  
Then after being hidden in the glare of Sun for many days from our view it will start becoming visible in Early Morning Skies for year 2014. Only to return, to evening sky few days before end of year 2014. 

Planet Venus since time immemorial was thought to be two different objects. As sometimes it appeared in morning or evening. It was known as Morning/Evening Star. However Planet Venus revolution around Sun determines its position in our sky. So in a Year Venus is either visible mostly in Morning or Evening skies. Whereas in year 2014 Venus is mostly visible in early morning sky.

V. Asteroid to zip pass Earth on 3rd Jan 2014: A newly discovered asteroid called “2013 YL” flyby earth safely at three times Distance to Earth and Moon. i.e. at 13,77,138 km (0.0092 AU) from Earth on 3rd Jan, 2014. This asteroid was discovered on 23rd Dec, 2013. The estimated size of this object is 109 meters. This object is travelling at speed of 21 km/sec. This space rock orbits Sun once in every 470 days


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