April 21, 2024
2022 was a wonderful year to view stars in the night sky, and 2023 will offer even more delights across the Puget Sound region.

2022 was a wonderful year to view the night sky, including super moons, meteor showers and planetary alignments. 2023 will offer even more delights in the night sky.
As the end of this month approaches, the two brightest planets – Venus and Jupiter – will stride by each other from our view here on planet Earth as the two large and bright planets rotate around the sun. On March 1st, they will be quite close together in the western sky shortly after sunset. Even though the two planets are millions of miles apart, visually they will appear close enough to fit within the size of a full moon. If our post-sunset skies are clear enough, this pairing of bright planets should be something to behold.
Meteor lights up night sky in Pacific Northwest
On April 21 and 22, Venus will appear above the dipper-shaped Pleiades star cluster – also known as the Seven Sisters – as well as the largest V-shaped Hyades star cluster highlighted by its bright red foreground star, Aldebaran. This unique combination of stars and Venus will be something to behold.
Then July 19-21, the western evening sky will share a celestial sight. Venus, Mars, and even Mercury will be together along with Regulus, the brightest star in the Leo constellation. Mercury will be following the setting sun near the horizon, while Venus, Mars and Regulus will appear above Mercury – the planet closest to the sun.
In August, the Perseid meteor shower returns, peaking on the 12th and 13th. According to NASA, Perseid produces up to 100 meteors an hour with the best viewing time period between midnight and 3 a.m. in the Puget Sound area. To top it off, a waning crescent moon will allow for even the dimmest shooting stars to shine.
On October 14th, a partial solar eclipse will occur across the nation including Washington state. The sun, moon, and Earth will be in almost perfect alignment. From Oregon to the Gulf of Mexico, there will be a narrow band where fortunate viewers can see an annular eclipse. This eclipse is when the slightly smaller moon sits in front of the sun, resulting in a brilliant ring of light known as the ‘ring of fire.’
From 2021: Seattle area scores clear skies for viewing Perseid Meteor Shower
Also this fall, on October 10th, November 19th and December 9th near sunrise, Venus and a waning crescent moon will be next to each other, offering a captivating way to start your day.
And finally on December 13th and 14th, the Geminids meteor shower will peak, offering up to 120 shooting stars per hour. The hours to view this spectacle are far better, starting near 8 p.m. in the Puget Sound area.
So this year offers even more wonderful scenes in the night sky. If skies are clear, any or all of these opportunities will be wonderful to see and share. If you are interested in what’s happening for any night’s sky, visit www.earthsky.org.