Go through the telescope and straighten your neck, because we will see another year of stars.
Two lunar eclipses, a good summer meteor shower, and close planetary synchrony highlight the 2021 star calendar, which would otherwise be relatively calm.
Since there are no major events like the great historical conjunction at the end of 2020 or the next total solar eclipse in 2024, the astronomical calendar still has a lot to offer for seasoned star-watchers alike.
The big event in 2021 will be the Super Moon Eclipse, Which will be visible over the Pacific Northwest in the early hours of May 26. Not only will the moon appear larger in the sky, but it will turn into a red shadow as Earth’s shadow passes over it.
It also promises to be a good general for Perseid meteor shower In August, which will coincide with a new moon, it will make the sky dark enough to watch a good show. Showers will peak on August 12 and 13, a lovely time of year in the northwest.
And while there isn’t much engagement to look forward to this year, there will be a wrap up The conjunction of Mars and Venus On July 13th, which is a wonderful excuse to penetrate the telescope under a clear sky.
Here’s what to look for when you look at the night sky in 2021:
Quadrant meteor shower
An early winter meteor shower won’t do much to those in the Pacific Northwest. Regardless of the potential cloud cover, the waning of the grainy moon during the peak of the meteor shower will make it difficult to see meteors, which under the dark sky would number about 25 per hour. Some might be seen near the end of the shower on January 12th.
Lyrid meteor shower
Conditions won’t be ideal for this year’s Lyrids meteor showers, with a humping moon hanging in the sky. Lyrids are known for their fast and bright meteorites, although they are usually around 20 hours per hour. Some of them may be visible at the start of the April 14th meteor shower.
A “super moon” is a term used to refer to a full moon near its closest approach to Earth, and appears larger and brighter than usual. The giant moon in April will be the first of the two in 2021 (some consider the third on June 24th close enough to be considered “cool”).
The Aquarid meteor shower
Best viewed from the southern tropics, Eta Aquarids typically produce between 10 to 30 meteors per hour at their peak for those in the Northern Hemisphere. A crescent during the height of meteors this year will allow for darker skies.
Super Moon Eclipse
This year’s marquee astronomical event will be Total lunar eclipse Which overlaps with the second “giant moon” of the year. Find a full moon to turn red when Earth’s shadow falls across it.
Annular solar eclipse
This is not a total solar eclipse and will not be visible from the Pacific Northwest, however Annular solar eclipse – where the smaller moon blocks only part of the sun, creating a “ring of fire” effect – it will be visible in the northeastern United States and part of the Midwest.
The conjunction of Mars and Venus
In the summer, stargazers will be able to put both Mars and Venus in a single telescope view, as they appear close to each other as the two planets are coupling. With a fluffy crescent moon and clear summer sky, it should be a great occasion for stargazing in the Pacific Northwest.
Delta aquared meteor shower
Like the Eta Aquarids, the Delta Aquarids are best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere, resulting in slight showers in the north. A waning convex moon at its zenith is likely to drown in minuscule meteors.
Capricorn alpha meteorite
Culminating in the same two nights as the Delta Aquarids, the Alpha Capricornids will be another faint shower, thanks to the dazzling, dazzling moon. This shower is usually known for its bright fiery balls and is evenly visible on either side of the equator.
Perseid meteor shower
One of the best meteor showers of the year, the Perseids are a good show this year, with a new moon just days before the bathing peak. Under the dark sky, the number of persimmons is usually 50 to 75 per hour. The clear summer skies and warm temperatures make it a good event to count on.
Blue Moon (seasonal)
We tend to think of a “blue moon” as the second full moon to occur within one calendar month, but the term is also used for an additional full moon in one season. Baffling is the third The full moon in the season, not the additional fourth, which is the blue moon. This year the blue moon will come in the last third of summer.
Orionid meteor shower
Orionids typically produce 10 to 20 meteors per hour, although the numbers can swell up to 75 in good years. This year doesn’t look promising, as the full moon will flood most of the show.
Leonid Meteor Shower
The Leonids are debris from comet 55P / Temple-Tuttle, known for its infrequent bouts of activity, the most recent being in 2001. There will be no major Leonids events until 2099, and no good baths until around 2030, although the showers are still It produces peaks of about 15 meteors per hour. The height of this year will be flooded by an almost full moon.
Partial lunar eclipse
Although this partial eclipse is not technically a total lunar eclipse, it will see Earth’s shadow covering 97% of the moon. The event will be visible to the entire United States, and reach its maximum eclipse in the early hours of the morning. The moon will be near its farthest point from Earth, so it will appear slightly smaller in the sky.
Geminid meteor shower
The strongest meteor showers of the year come in the last days of autumn, with peaks reaching 120 meteors per hour. The Pacific Northwest is usually a bad place to look for Geminids due to the reliably cloudy skies, and this year’s peak will be affected by a convex moon. Star-watchers who want to see pigeons should head outside a few hours before dawn, or hope to be lucky in the early days of their showers, which will be active between December 4 and 20.
Overshadowed by the Geminids and the holiday season, the Ursids meteor showers last throughout the year with peak activity of about five to 10 meteors per hour, from December 17 to 26. Observers may be able to see meteors in the late morning hours on the peak days of December 21 and 22, although an almost full moon may spoil your chances.