By Dave Aguilera
DENVER (CBS4) – Get ready for a big Celestial weekend! Three astronomical wonders will be taking place before we make it to Christmas.
The first big event hits Friday afternoon at 3:23 pm. It’s what many consider the first day of winter. The Winter Solstice! This is the point at which the sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn which is 23.5° south latitude. It is at this point the Earth is tilted at its farthest point from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere. After Friday each afternoon will gradually see more and more daylight until the summer solstice in June.
The second astronomical event will be something to watch in the sky. We have a full moon coming our way on Saturday! The official time is 10:49 AM on Saturday morning. But, it will be big and bright all weekend long. The only issue on Saturday night is a storm system will be blowing into the state with a chance for snow in the mountains and eastern plains. So you might want to get a good look on Friday night and again on Sunday night when the skies are expected to be a bit clearer. The full moon in the month of December is called “The Cold Moon”. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac the December Full moon typically happens when the nights become long and winter cold tends to take over the country.
The third celestial happening this weekend is the Ursid Meteor shower. This annual shower takes place near the end of December and originates from the Little Dipper or Ursa Minor. This year there are estimated to be just under a dozen shooting stars an hour right before sunrise in the southeast sky on Friday and Saturday. However, with the full moon they may be very difficult to see. Especially, on Saturday night when that cold front will be moving through.