The View From Here

Our planet hits a few notes on the astronomical interestingness scale this week though, largely, not in view of those of us in the U.S.

Tonight hope for clear skies, as the Quadrantid meteor shower hits its peak. Unlike most showers, the Quadrantids peak for only a few hours, giving the best, late-night show to Europe and Asia, while the U.S. may see a few at higher latitudes starting around 8 p.m. EST. The debris from asteroid 2003 EH1 will appear to originate from the constellation Bootes.

Photo of solar eclipse by Santosh Chandran, via Creative Commons on Flickr.

Take a nap, then get up for your next event tomorrow: a partial solar eclipse. This one will definitely only be seen from parts of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia (the Swedes have the best view at 08:50 UT). According to, this is the first of four partial solar eclipses we’ll get this year.

And lastly, the one event we don’t really notice at all: Earth reached perihelion — the point when we swing closest to the sun in our elliptical orbit — at about 2 p.m. EST this afternoon. Bad Astronomer has a good post on the orbital travels of our home planet. While we may be close to the sun, we’re still tilted every so far away in the Northern Hemisphere, so excuse me while I go get another blanket.


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