The night sky in 2023 will boast an incredible schedule of celestial wonders for stargazers to enjoy. Several of the brightest planets will not only engage in eye-catching close encounters with one another, they will also move across some of the sky’s most spectacular star clusters. Conditions for a few of the most active meteor showers will be nearly perfect for viewing. And arguably the most anticipated highlight will be October’s “ring of fire” solar eclipse, which will be visible to people in parts of North and South America.
Here are some dazzling sky-watching events to mark on your calendar.
Within an hour or so after sunset on January 23, watch the stunning glow from the whisker-thin crescent moon pop into view in the southwestern sky. Just below will be two bright planets: Venus and Saturn. The worlds will be positioned only about one degree apart—roughly equal to the width of your index finger held at arm’s length—allowing viewers with binoculars and even backyard telescopes to see both simultaneously. Venus will be blazingly bright, easily outshining Saturn. Be quick to catch them before the celestial pair sinks below the horizon.