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Skywatch: Earth reaches a milestone this week

This highlights why the distance from the Sun has nothing with the changing of the seasons.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — We’ll see a dark sky this week as the new moon arrives on Sunday. It’ll officially reach that phase at 1:33 p.m. which means that there won’t be as much light pollution in the night sky.

Hopefully, we’ll see some clearing just in time for the Quadrantid meteor shower. That’s expected to peak on Monday morning. 

This shower is caused by Asteroid 2003 EH1. The radiant will be in the northern sky after midnight. Under a dark sky (which we’ll have) 50-100 an hour meteors are possible. 

As always find a dark spot, far away from city lights, for the best show.

Earth reaches a milestone this week. At 1:54 a.m. Tuesday it will be at something known as perihelion. This is when Earth is closest to the sun in its orbit. 

This underscores the fact that the seasons are caused by the tilt of the Earth on its axis and not its distance from the sun.

The moon has a date with the largest planet in the solar system this week. On Wednesday evening look in the southwestern sky after sunset. The moon will be just below Jupiter. 

If you have a clear view of the horizon look just below the pair for Saturn and Mercury. 

Happy hunting!