Eyewire’s Skygazing Spectacular!

Hopefully you were able to witness this year’s spectacular solar eclipse! The 2024 solar eclipse was visible across the the US, Canada, and Mexico, with the total eclipse lasting up to nearly 4.5 minutes at the center of the path of totality.

This widespread and and long-lasting eclipse was a unique event in the 21st century, and has us looking skyward, hungry for more! So for this month’s competition, let’s explore some other fantastic celestial phenomena that nature has in store for us in the upcoming years.

Accuracy Meteor Showers

First session runs from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Thursday 5/23
Second session runs from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Friday 5/24
Third session runs from 10:00 PM to midnight on Friday 5/24

During this competition’s Accuracy Happy Hours, let’s explore a fairly common, but extremely satisfying night sky phenomenon – meteor showers! While seeing a shooting star is usually a rare, lucky event, during a meteor shower you can see a ton of them all at once! Shooting star is also a bit of a misnomer as meteors are actually burning rocks falling through our atmosphere. Meteor showers occur when the earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by a comet.

One of the most famous meteor showers are the Perseids, which are meteors from the comet Swift-Tuttle, and can be seen from earth every August. This year’s meteor shower will peak on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13. Between midnight and dawn are the best viewing times!

1st Place Accuracy – 10,000 points
2nd Place Accuracy – 8,000 points
3rd Place Accuracy – 6,000 points
Achieve 95% Accuracy – 5,000 points
Achieve 90% Accuracy – 3,000 points
Achieve 80% Accuracy – 2,000 points
1,000 points for anyone under 80% who still plays at least 30 cubes in either slot.
(These bonus thresholds are non-cumulative, i.e. they will not combine. If you earn 3rd place, for instance, and presumably got over 95% accuracy, you still earn a 6,000 point bonus, not 11,000.)

Asteroid Hunt

Begins at 12:00 AM (midnight) on Saturday 5/25
Ends at 12:00 PM (noon) on Thursday 5/30

An asteroid is defined as a rocky, metallic, or icy body without an atmosphere. And one with the extremely ominous title of Apophis aka “the God of Destruction” will pass uncomfortably (or spectacularly, depending on who you ask) close to Earth in 2029.

Although it was given a ~3% chance of hitting Earth when it was discovered in 2004, more recent observation has led scientists to conclude that it will not collide with our planet at the end of this decade. It will, however, be visible to the naked eye as it passes by at only 30,600 kilometers (19,000 miles) above our planet. And on a Friday the 13th no less! We’ll certainly be on the hunt to get a glimpse of this one!

Each merger found – 1,000 points
7,500 additional points if all 12 are found
200 point bonus available on each merger to the player whose guess is closest
250 point bonus available to any player who guesses within 10 voxels of a merger

Aurora Trivia

Begins at 11:00 AM on Sunday 5/26
Continues until 11:00 AM on Tuesday 5/28
Finishes with Power Hour from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesday 5/28

Auroras are brilliant displays of light visible in the night sky, and are caused by electromagnetic disturbances created by solar wind. The most well known and brilliant displays of aurora are the aurora borealis (norther lights) and aurora australis (southern lights) which are visible at each of the Earth’s poles.

The sun has in fact been acting rather feisty lately, spitting off active solar flares. Earlier this month the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center issued a Severe Geomagnetic Storm Watch warning for the first time since 2003!

If you were lucky, this extra solar activity may have given you a chance to experience aurora at latitudes where it is not normally visible.

For every question —
1st to answer – 300 points
2nd to answer – 200 points
3rd to answer – 100 points

Solar Eclipse vs. Lunar Eclipse

Begins at 11:00 AM on Monday 5/27
Ends at 11:00 AM on Wednesday 5/29

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the Sun, blocking light from reaching a small geographic area. A total solar eclipse is when the sun is completely blocked from view, and a brief darkness descends over any area located within the so-called “Path of Totality.”

Solar eclipses are spectacular, and a bit spooky! If you’re an eclipse chaser, you can catch the next total eclipse as it passes over Greenland, Iceland, Portugal, and northern Spain, on August 12, 2026, with the longest totality in Iceland at 2 minutes 18 seconds.

Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth passes between the sun and moon, causing the moon to fall within the Earth’s shadow. During a total lunar eclipse the moon does not disappear but instead glows a bright red, and is sometimes called the “blood moon”, due to the refraction of red light through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Total lunar eclipses are much more frequent, occurring about 3 times each year. You can view a total lunar eclipse from a given location about once every 2.5 years. Some lunar eclipses can be more unique such as the “Super Flower Blood Moon” of 2022, which was a total lunar eclipse as well as a super moon – when the moon is at its closest point to earth and appears large in the sky.

Starting Lineup – top 3 players on each team, who earn 75% of their score in bonus points
All Other Players – earn 50% of their score in bonus points
Winning Team – 20,000 additional points
Each Team’s MVP – 5,000 additional points
(The winning team is determined by average points per player, with 2x weight given to Starting Lineup players. To qualify for any of the above bonuses or affect the team score, players must earn a minimum baseline of 2,000 points.)

Supernova Marathon

Begins at 10:00 AM on Wednesday 5/29
Ends at 10:00 AM on Thursday 5/30

Stars from our galaxy supernova about twice every century. However, supernovae that are visible from Earth are extremely rare — with less than 10 recorded in human history.

It is unlikely that we will get to witness a supernova within our life times, but not impossible! Betelgeuse, Earth’s nearest red supergiant is likely to go supernova within the next 100,000 years.

However, recent dimming events have caused some to speculate that this event may come sooner than we thought — potentially even this century! Though not the most likely theory, there’s still much we don’t know about supernovae, so we’ll just have to wait and see. If Betelgeuse did supernova, it would shine as brightly as the half moon, and be visible for over 3 months! A marathon event indeed!

One live cell will be designated the “marathon cell,” with a 3x points multiplier!
Cube count bonuses: 3500 points per cube traced.
SC bonuses are doubled on all cells.
Every 3 SCs counts for 1 cube toward naming eligibility & per-cell completion bonus.
50 cubes = 5,000 points per completed cell, plus rights to vote on a new name for the marathon cell
200 cubes = 10,000 points per completed cell, plus rights to nominate a new name for the marathon cell

Skygazing Spectacular Closing Ceremony

Come celebrate the end of this competition, where admins will recognize everyone’s achievements. As always, we will include a round of promotions for Scouts, Scythes, Mystics, Moderators, and Mentors. If you’d like a promotion, you can request them here.