Best Night of the Year to Look Into the Sky

It is not easy to say that one night and one night only is the best night to look into the sky. For it to be the �best� night of the year depends on what it is you are anticipating to see. There are various seasons and times within a month that are specifically good for observing a certain aspect of the sky. Whether you are more interested on catching a glimpse of a comet, the planets, or shooting stars (aka meteors), you must find out what time of the year is best to see them. For example, to see stars in a clear sky you must be in a dark, very lightly polluted place. Cities are the worst place to be when trying to observe the night sky. If you are interested in looking at the planets, it is important to know when each planet will have its apparition, the period of time when any given planet or celestial body can be seen. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have been visible to the naked eye for centuries, but one must know where to look for them. These five planets are the brightest ones and therefore, easily visible for most of the year, except for when they are too close to the Sun for observation. The apparition time for Mercury and Venus are during the morning or evening sky. An apparition for Mars and planets beyond it can be measured from when the planet is visible in the sky at dawn to when it disappears into the sunset. Apparitions have the ability to last from just a few weeks, like Mercury, to almost two years (like Mars). However the planets are seen at their best only partially during an apparition period. Luckily, the requirements for observing the planets are not exactly the same as the stars and other things in the galaxy. Cities with lights and some pollution do not interfere that much with viewing the planets. Furthermore, there are some highlights that you won�t want to miss out on. From July to September, the planets will have a few events: Saturn sets and Jupiter rises, Mercury will have an apparition all of July, Neptune completes one orbit since its date of discovery and it will be visible all night of August 22, and a meteor shower called Delta Aquarids will occur during mid-summer.

Moreover, if you are someone who likes to watch meteors, or �shooting stars,� drive away from the city lights and go towards the constellation that the meteors will appear to radiate from. You need to find a dark spot where cars and other lights will be of no distraction. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every August (usually on the 12th). You will be able to see at least 50 or 60 shooting stars streaking the night sky. The best time to watch is between midnight and dawn. The meteors will come from the constellation called Perseus, in the northeastern sky. As you can see, there is not one perfect night to view the sky. It all depends on what you want to see and which constellations and planets are in apparition.





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