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What’s in The Skies at Getaway | 2024 Stargazing Guide

One consistent piece of feedback we receive from our guests is that Getaway is the perfect place, far from the light pollution of the city, to see the stars and constellations. Here’s what you can look forward to seeing in the sky this month on your next escape to nature.

March

New Moon

March 10th presents the New Moon, a phase that is a stargazer’s delight. During this time, the moon is positioned between the Earth and the sun, making it invisible in the night sky. This absence of moonlight creates exceptionally dark skies, ideal for observing the rest of the night sky.

March Equinox

The March Equinox on March 20th marks an astronomical milestone and the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the sun crosses the celestial equator moving northward, resulting in nearly equal amounts of day and night across the globe. This equinox is a celebration of the changing seasons and is significant in many cultures. For stargazers, the equinox signals a shift in the night sky, with constellations specific to spring beginning to rise in prominence in the sky.

Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation

On March 24th, Mercury will reach its Greatest Eastern Elongation, at 18.7 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury as it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Just after sunset, look for this elusive planet low in the western sky. Being the closest planet to the sun, Mercury is often lost in the sun’s glare, but during this elongation, it becomes visible. This event provides a rare opportunity for observers and photographers to catch a glimpse of Mercury’s fleeting beauty.

Full Moon (Worm Moon)

The Full Moon on March 25th is not just any full moon—it’s known as the Worm Moon. This traditional name, given by early Native American tribes, signifies the time of year when the ground begins to thaw and earthworms reappear. Also called the Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sap Moon, and Lenten Moon, this lunar phase occurs at 07:02 UTC. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun, fully illuminated and showcasing its brilliant face. This phase is perfect for observing lunar craters and seas in detail, and is a favorite among lunar photographers.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

The evening of March 25th also brings a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, a celestial event where the Moon passes through the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbra. This type of eclipse results in a subtle darkening of the moon’s surface. While not as dramatic as a total lunar eclipse, the penumbral eclipse is still a fascinating astronomical event. It will be visible throughout North America, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Viewers can observe the gradual shading effect on the moon, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the already beautiful full moon night.

February

Comet C/2022 E3 at its Brightest

On February 1st, skywatchers will have a spectacular opportunity to witness Comet C/2022 E3 at its brightest. This cosmic visitor, which last graced our skies thousands of years ago, will shine brilliantly in the night sky.The comet, easily identified by its glowing coma and distinct tail, will be visible to the naked eye in dark skies, away from city lights.

Peak of the α-Centaurid Meteor Shower

The night of February 8th marks the peak of the α-Centaurid meteor shower, a celestial event that promises to dazzle stargazers. Known for their bright and fast meteors, the α-Centaurids originate from the constellation Centaurus. This meteor shower is especially noted for its spectacular fireballs – larger explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak.

New Moon

February 9th brings the New Moon, a phase that offers the perfect backdrop for stargazing. During this time, the moon is aligned with the sun, making it invisible in the night sky. This absence of moonlight allows for darker skies, which enhances the visibility of stars and other celestial objects.

Full Moon

On February 24th, the night sky will be illuminated by the Full Moon. While the Full Moon brings an increase in ambient light, reducing the visibility of fainter stars and galaxies, it offers a chance to observe lunar features in great detail. The craters, mountains, and valleys of the lunar surface are prominently visible, and can be explored with binoculars or a telescope.

January 2024

Quadrantids Meteor Shower

Stay January 3-4 and experience the Quadrantids Meteor Shower at its peak. Up to 40 meteors an hour will radiate from the constellation Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

New Moon

Book your Getaway January 11 and enjoy a New Moon — when less moonlight lets you spot faint objects, like far-off galaxies and star clusters.

Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation

Get away January 12 and Mercury will likely be in view. The Swift Planet will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky (tip: look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.)

Full Moon

Stay January 25 and bask beneath a Full Moon, when the moon appears bigger and brighter.