Eyes to the Skies: A Cosmic Calendar for 2018

Summit Creek is a lot of things: an idyllic mountain living community, a pristine natural setting, just moments from some of the region’s most celebrated ski areas and national parks. But, it’s also a top locale for viewing the unspoiled night sky. The lack of city lights and buildings on this unique north-facing shelf of the Wasatch leaves residents beneath a sparkling noir blanket all year long.

Night Sky

As 2018 nears, we want to share all of the upcoming opportunities to see the celestial wonders happening in the Utah sky. From the beginning of January to the early days of summer there are a number of times to see the galaxy come alive. Meteor showers, supermoons, even a total lunar eclipse are happening in the new year. And, Summit Creek residents have a front row seat. So mark your calendars, bundle up, pop some popcorn, plan to stay up late and watch the atmosphere put on a show you won’t soon forget.

Meteor Show – January 3 – 4, 2018
The first days of the new year promise something beautiful—a meteor shower caused by the dust grains of an extinct comet from 2003. This is a particularly special shower because meteors will be visible at an above average rate with up to 40 meteors per hour at the peak (the evening of the 3rd). The best viewing will happen after midnight from a dark location, so plan to modify your bedtime routine to catch this late new year party.

Total Lunar Eclipse – January 31, 2018
As the first month of 2018 comes to a close, we’ll be graced by a total lunar eclipse. Here, the moon passes through the Earth’s dark shadow. The Moon will assume a blood red hue and the eclipse will be visible throughout western North America (including at Summit Creek) and in four other parts of the world, including Australia.

Last Supermoon of 2018 – January 31, 2018
Everyone loves a good Supermoon. But, January 31 marks the last one of the year. During the Supermoon, the Moon itself will be at its closest approach to the Earth and will be brighter than usual with its face fully illuminated. It’s a grand thing to see, so you don’t want to miss it. It won’t be back until next year.

Partial Solar Eclipse – February 15, 2018
Unfortunately you won’t see this one from Summit Creek, but if you happen to be traveling in Chile, Antarctica or Argentina, a partial solar eclipse is taking place and the moon will cover part of the sun.

Spring Equinox – March 20, 2018
The March equinox kicks off this day. We know it as spring and begin to think of warmer days ahead, but on March 20, the sun will shine directly onto the equator giving equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This means a little more time to enjoy the beautiful days at Summit Creek.

Meteor Shower – April 22 – 23, 2018
Expect a show in April. The Lyrids meteor shower usually starts around the 16th of April, but peaks the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. With about 20 meteors per hour, this is a beautiful occurrence as you’ll behold bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The dust originates from a comet, Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861. The best time to see this is shortly after midnight.

Eta Aquarids – May 6 – 7, 2018
When you hear 60 meteors per hour, you know it’s something worth seeing. An above average meteor shower, this is the result of dust particles left behind by comet Halley—one of the oldest and most observed comets we know of. The shower, which runs from April 19 until May 28, will peak the evening of May 6 and promises to be worth the late night.

Saturn at Opposition – June 27, 2018
Everyone’s favorite planet, Saturn, with it’s beautiful rings, gets close to earth on June 27 and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the brightest the planet will be all year and you can expect it to be visible all night long. Not only is this a special event, but it’s a great opportunity to snap a photo of the planet and its moons. A medium sized telescope is all you need. Happy viewing.

 

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