There's a spectacular reason you should be looking past the fireworks and at the sky tonight: according to Space.com, the solar system's brightest stars will be visible all of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!
From December 31st until about January 9th, “the planets Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Saturn will be visible stretching across the dawn sky right along the ecliptic (the invisible line that the sun follows across the sky),” Space.com explains.
The ecliptic is “something of an illusion,” but essentially the moon will travel along this invisible line, passing right next to each of the planets. This will help the planets become visible with the help of some binoculars or a telescope.
Not only that, but there is yet another reason to look to the stars on New Year’s Day! According to the National Geographic, “Comet Catalina, which is headed out of the solar system, currently shines at 6th magnitude, meaning skywatchers will need an optical aid to spot it.
"However, the hunt is made much easier on January 1 because on that morning the comet will pass within 0.5 degrees of the bright orange Arcturus, the fourth-brightest star in the entire sky.”
So grab a blanket, some binoculars, a bottle of wine, and a friend and head outside to watch the stars. What better way to celebrate the start of a new year than to glaze at the wonder of the universe we live in?
Banner Image Credit: Jason Jenkins