There are some interesting events happening in the night skies above Kamloops and the Okanagan this week, with a forecast calling for clear conditions for sky watching.
You might need to add an extra coat, however, as nighttime temperatures are expected to dip into the negative double digits later in the week.
Mercury will reach its widest separation east of the sun on Thursday, Nov. 28, which will make for its brightest appearance in the night sky this year.
It can best be observed between 6 and 7 a.m. Thursday, shining brightly low in the southeastern sky.
Later on Thursday, the slender crescent of a new moon will be visible after sunset, with Venus and Jupiter both shining brightly in the southwestern sky for about an hour after sunset.
Venus can be found southwest of the moon while Jupiter should be seen to the lower right of the moon, according to space.com
The Leonid meteor shower may have peaked on Nov. 18, but viewing conditions have improved as a new crescent moon means less light in the night sky.
It’s also interesting to note Kamloops and the Okanagan is fast approaching the date of the earliest sunset time for the year, which surprisingly, doesn’t take place on the winter solstice.
Sky and Telescope says the sun sets at its earliest around Dec. 7, which in Kelowna will be 3:57 p.m. this year, according to data from the National Research Council.
The sun sets at 16:04 today, Nov. 25, seven minutes from the minimum.
But on Dec. 21, instead of setting earlier, the sun sets at 3:59 p.m., two minutes later than on Dec. 7.
It’s still the shortest day of the year as the latest sunrise doesn’t occur until early January, making up for the later setting of the sun on Dec. 21.
According to Sky and Telescope, the discrepancy is due to the tilt of the earth’s axis and eccentricity of the earth’s orbit.
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