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Christmas wish list: Auroras, full moons and meteor showers

Image Credit: Robin Ohia via Flickr
December 14, 2015 - 6:30 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - The next two weeks could be everything you wished for if sky watching is at the top of your Christmas list.

The northern lights seem to have been making a lot more appearances this year, and another storm is expected to hit Earth this week, as early as this evening. Unfortunately Environment Canada is calling for cloudy skies at lower elevations throughout the region tonight, Dec. 14, though the local ski hills are expected to have less cloud. It’s unknown if another storm will hit before Christmas.

The Okanagan Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada notes Friday, Dec. 18, will be the first quarter moon night, which will leave a ‘brilliantly lit half slice of orange’ high in the evening sky. The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, will take place Monday, Dec. 21. The Shatford Centre in Penticton will host a viewing of the dramatic sunset beginning at 3 p.m. 

Next week the Ursids Meteor Shower, a minor meteor shower known for producing just five to 10 meteors per hour, will also peak. The shower runs from Dec. 17 to 25 annually and peaks the night of Dec. 22. The pending full moon will hide all but the brightest meteors

Full moons are also common, occurring monthly, but the last time a full moon lit up the sky on Christmas Day was in 1977, and the next one won’t be until 2034, according to NASA experts.

The last full moon of the year, known as the Full Cold Moon according to Farmer’s Almanac, is expected to reach peak size at 3:11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Dec. 25, which means Christmas Eve will likely be the best time to view the full moon this year.

The Weather Network’s long range forecast is calling for a mix of sun and cloud Christmas week.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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