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Article by Sophia Wahl

Last November, I stumbled across an advertisement for a meteor shower that would be happening that night. It didn’t take much to convince four of my friends to pile into my car and drive, unsure of where we would end up. We decided to stop in Isle, Minnesota, where stargazing conditions were practically perfect. We saw several shooting stars and constellations that are not typically visible from campus. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Because of this one night, the experience sparked my love for watching the night sky and sharing it with others.

Since that night there was and will be opportunities to see sights that are out of this world! First of all, from the evening of April 22 to the morning of April 23, the Lyrids meteor shower was visible if you could find a dark enough spot. It was an average-sized shower that displayed 20-30 meteors per hour. However, the moon was full, which made it hard to see more than a few meteors.

Lyrids Meteor Shower in 2023 & Credit: People Magazine, April 17, 2023, Kelsie Gibson

One common, yet still incredible phenomenon known as Earthshine, or the Da Vinci glow will occur May 4-5. This happens when the unlit part of the crescent moon is visible due to light reflecting from the earth. This creates a pale glow that almost looks like an illusion. It can be challenging to focus your eyes at first, but you can enjoy this spectacle from your own backyard!

Earthshine on a crescent moon.

The most exciting atmospheric event of May will be May 6 – 7. The Eta Aquarids meteor shower, which is composed of dust particles from Halley’s Comet, will be visible just after midnight, at a rate of about 30 meteors per hour. What makes this shower so great? It is right before a new moon, which means that moonlight will not be a hinderance for stargazing! As always, a dark location that is distant from cities is optimal, but you will not have to travel as far for stunning results.

Grab your friends and head away from the cities to enjoy this celestial sensation!