Rain on our postage stamp and what’s coming up for skywatchers

NEMiss.News Milky Way over Split Mountain

The official unofficial weather man for New Albany’s North Side area has informed NEMiss.News on the subject of local rainfall amounts. He recorded 56.34 inches of rain falling upon our , and William Faulkner’s “little postage stamp of native soil” during 2023.

Joe Wilson, well known in the area for his weather watching and raccoon feeding, is also an excellent record keeper. He has provided a month-by-month summary for 2023.

Additionally, Joe informs us that 2023’s rainfall was actually a bit above our average of 56.18 inches. Sadly for some, happily for others, 2023 was a “no snow” year.

There are few things more awe inspiring than a good view of our night sky. While watching those skies for 2024’s weather, readers may also be interested in some notable astronomical events soon to come. Along with those on the list are many beautful new moons, full moons and “specialty” moons to watch for.

Significant astronomical events in first half of 2024

January 12: Mercury will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

March 20: The March equinox is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere; first day of fall in Southern Hemisphere.

March 22: Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks: This comet has an orbital period of about 71.3 years. It’s an early evening comet in March 2024, skirting the twilight after sunset later in the month.  The comet might become dimly visible with the naked eye—it might even be more visible during the total solar eclipse on April 8.  More Information: 

March 24: Look low in the western sky to view Mercury at its best, as it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky.

March 25: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. The Moon will pass through the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbram and will darken slightly, but not completely.

April 8 – Total Solar Eclipse, visible across portions of the US, alas, not in Mississippi. But you may want to travel to see this, which is the first total eclipse since 2017, and the last until 2045. For more information.

April 22, 23: Lyrids Meteor Shower, runs annually from April 16-25, usually produces about 20 meteors per hours, but its viewing will be hampered by a full moon.

May 6, 7 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower: Arising from dust particles left behind by comet Halley, this shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28, peaking this year the night of May 6 into the morning of May 7. A new moon will make for good viewing, weather permitting.

May 9:  Mercury will be dazzling above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

June 20 – June Solstice: The first day of summer for Northern hemisphere; first day of winter in Southern hemisphere.

Thank you, Joe, for providing the jumping off place for a look into upcoming wonders.

For more information or a previews of July – December: http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2024.html



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