Written By John Bryant

Quite the rare show from an Asteroid late tonight into early Tuesday for a lucky few

Asteroids and Earth have a close relationship most don’t often think of

Asteroids have always fascinated me.

One of the brightest and most prominent stars in the sky is set to temporarily disappear as it is eclipsed by an asteroid, creating a unique celestial event tonight. Not everyone can see it, but you will if you live in these areas, assuming the sky is clear.

It will be extraordinary but brief, occurring from late Monday to early Tuesday and observable by countless individuals along a specific trajectory. This path begins in central Asia, including Tajikistan and Armenia, extends through Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Spain, and reaches as far as Miami, the Florida Keys, and certain regions of Mexico.

The star is Betelgeuse, a red supergiant located in the Orion constellation. The celestial body causing the eclipse is Leona, an elongated, slowly spinning asteroid situated between Mars and Jupiter in the central asteroid belt.

This eclipse presents a significant opportunity for astronomers to gain deeper insights into Betelgeuse and Leona. The eclipse’s duration is anticipated to be no more than 15 seconds. Insights from Leona’s previous eclipse of a less bright star in September, led by a team from Spain, have led to an estimate of the asteroid’s dimensions as approximately 34 miles in width and 50 miles in length.

It is so interesting because asteroids and weather have a close relationship.

Asteroids can contribute to cloud formation in Earth’s atmosphere.

Asteroids are one of the architects of Earth’s Geography. Craters and climate are related as asteroid impacts have reshaped Earth’s geography, creating craters that can affect local weather systems. The famous Chicxulub crater and the mysterious Vredefort dome have left their mark on our planet.

Asteroids can alter ocean currents, leading to significant changes in global weather patterns. Some asteroids protect our planet from solar storms and cosmic radiation.

Sustainability and Asteroids (Yes, there is a connection here, believe it or not)

Asteroid mining can benefit Earth’s sustainability, offering a solution to depleting resources and promoting clean energy. Asteroids can teach us valuable lessons about preserving our planet and the importance of sustainable practices.

Asteroids are more than just space rocks; they are storytellers of our planet’s past and potential keys to our sustainable future. Understanding their impact on Earth’s weather, climate, and environment can give us invaluable insights into preserving our beautiful planet.

Here’s a cool website I use to track upcoming astronomy events.

Sky & Telescope | Astronomy News, Tools & Resources – Sky & Telescope (skyandtelescope.org)