2019 looks to bring us several stellar astronomical events, the first of which are coming up this very month. Therefore, now is the perfect time to start planning your viewing parties.
On January 21, stargazers across the country will be able to catch arguably the most exciting event. A sight we have not experienced in three years, we’ll get to see a total lunar eclipse. This isn’t just an ordinary eclipse though.
NASA says it will be one of the “most dazzling shows” since the moon will be a “supermoon.” With the moon being at its closest to us, it will appear bigger and much brighter. But that’s not the only thing that makes this a sight to see.
Because of the eclipse, the moon will appear to turn red – making it what’s referred to as a “blood moon.” As it is also the first full moon in the month of January, it is also considered a “wolf moon.”
To see it, you’ll want to look up at the sky around 12:12 a.m. ET on Monday, January 21. If you miss it, there won’t be another total lunar eclipse until 2021.
Earlier in January, prior to the umbral lunar eclipse, the Quadrantids meteor shower will occur on January 3. While it will be brief, a waning moon should make it easier to spot some shooting stars.
On May 6, you’ll have another opportunity to view what’s expected to be an impressive meteor shower. The Eta Aquarids are expected will peak around 3 a.m. ET until dawn. Several sources report that we can expect many as 20 to 40 meteors per hour – maybe even more. Plus, with the new moon, they will be much easier to see.
In addition to these showers, the Arietids should peak on June 7 and the Orionids on October 21. On December 3, we’ll be watching out for the Andromedids.
If you’re traveling to South America in early July, you may be able to witness a total solar eclipse. It will be visible for about four and a half minutes while it crosses over the Andes mountains.
There will also be three super full moons this year, including the super blood wolf moon. The second will occur on February 19, with the third appearing on March 21. February’s super moon will appear to be the largest, with the moon being just 221,681 miles away from Earth.
A partial lunar eclipse (65%) will be visible on July 16 in Australia, southern Asia, Africa, and Europe. There will also be two partial solar eclipses in January and December, though neither will be visible from the U.S.