Our winter Lodge guests get an extra treat during their already chiller and cozier stay: otherworldly stargazing over Neva Lake. But they’re not the only lucky ones. There are sky shows all year round, and we happen to be perfectly primed and positioned—with wide inky skies and little light pollution—to enjoy as many as possible.
Last year, we published our first guide to meteor showers, lunar eclipses, and supermoons. We had so much fun with it that we decided to make it an annual thing. So, pack your favorite set of binoculars, download a few stargazing apps (we like SkyView Lite and Star Walk 2), and bookmark this page. We’re confident you’ll find at least a few—or several—sky events you’ll want to witness from our 82 acres.
Venus and Jupiter Optical Illusion: March 1, 2023
We Western stargazers might think Venus and Jupiter are almost touching on the first day of March. But the planets will be playing tricks on us. They’ll still be millions of miles apart, and Venus will shine brightly. A pair of binoculars or access to a telescope will show them both pretty clearly. Wait until after sunset for the best view.
Lyrids – Peak night: April 22, 2023, Predawn
The Lyrids show is relatively kind to people with earlier bedtimes—it’s visible each night around 10:30 p.m. This annual shower is known for its luminous dust tails and typically pumps out about 15-20 meteors per hour. These shooting stars can come pretty fast, but not as fast as their cousins, the Leionids, do. Keep scrolling to read about those.
Summer Solstice Venus and Mars Conjunction: June 21, 2023
Mars is taking its turn hanging near Venus in June like Jupiter did in March, but this, too, will make it look like the planets are way closer than they really are. The two planets will inhabit the same astronomical line. They’ll appear grouped together, and on June 21, the first official day of summer, Venus, Mars, and the Moon will form a triangle in the night sky. You won’t need any special equipment to see the triad that night because they’ll shine so brightly (and even brighter at Lakedale).
Alpha Capricornids – Peak night: July 30-31, 2023
Expect to see fireballs (the meteors, not the cinnamon whiskey) when the Alpha Capricornids enjoy their turn in the sky. If you wanted to enjoy a few sips of cinnamon whiskey while you watch, though, who are we to stop you?
Perseid Meteor Shower – Peak: August 12, 2023
The Perseids will put on a big sky show this year, with up to 100 meteors sailing through the darkness per hour. The Perseids are bright, long-tailed balls. They’ll be mostly unobscured by the moon this year and active from July 14 through September 1. If you’re staying with us this summer, keep your binoculars at the ready. How’s that for a perfect summer night?
Saturn Opposition: August 27, 2023
Our favorite seven-ringed gas giant will have its moment in the sun (as it were) at the end of August. Saturn Opposition is when earth straddles perfectly between Saturn and the sun, the point in Saturn’s orbit where it’s closest to earth. During opposition, Saturn will be visible to the naked eye, and a telescope will allow you to count its famous rings.
Super Blue Moon: August 31, 2023
While the moon won’t actually look blue to us earthlings, August will have two full moons. The second of those is called the Blue Moon. Look for it ripe in the sky—bigger and brighter than usual—on August 31st.
“Ring of Fire” Solar Eclipse: October 14, 2023
A “ring of fire” solar eclipse happens when the earth, the moon, and the sun are all in alignment. They’re annual events where the moon is too far from the earth to block the sun completely, creating the look of a “ring of fire.” It looks like the moon is ablaze—surely an event you’ll want to put on your calendar. Don’t forget the special glasses. As with any solar eclipse, you won’t want to look directly at it without the right eye protection.
Orionids – Peak night: October 20–21, 2023
Keep track of how many shooting stars you can count each hour during this big sky show. Usually, there are 10-20 per hour, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you saw more.
Leonids – Peak night: November 17-18, 2023, Predawn
The night owls among us will enjoy staying up to watch the Leonids. While the festivities start on November 6th, the shower will reach its peak in the predawn hours between November 17th and 18th. Because of the show’s radiant point, you won’t be able to see shooting stars until about 11:30 p.m. each night, so prepare your peepers accordingly.
Geminids – Peak night: December 13–14, 2022, All Night
Wish upon all the stars during the holiday season! According to the American Meteor Society, this year’s event (which is rather predictable date-wise) will run from around November 19th through Christmas Eve, reaching its peak on December 13th and 14th.
We’ve given you a lot of sky-high information to work with here. If you’re overwhelmed or have any questions at all, we’re always available to help (and get a little geeky about the sky with you). To that end, we wanted to remind you of a few star-gazing recommendations to ensure you have the best opportunity to see everything you came to experience:
Tips for stargazing at Lakedale
- We have telescopes and stargazing charts at the front desk—stop by and ask us about them!
- Check the weather forecast prior to your arrival to see if you’ll have to deal with any cloud cover
- Keep your drinks of choice and snacks handy
- Grab chairs and blankets (we have a basket of Lakedale blankets in the Lodge right by the fire), bundle up, and head outside about 45 minutes before meteor showers hits their peak so your eyes can adjust to the dark (if you’re taking in a meteor shower—supermoons and eclipses are exempt from this tip)
- Enjoy the show!
Are you a stargazer?
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