THROUGHOUT this year, there will be astronomical phenomena that will be worth watching, including eclipses, meteor showers and others which will be visible from Earth.
The soonest to occur will be on March 9 and 10, when Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury and the Moon will line up in the sky to create a spectacular image. Each planet will appear as a bright spot in the sky, almost perfectly separated from one another. The Moon will be in a waxing phase and this phenomenon will be visible without the need for a telescope.
From April 16 to 26 there will be a meteor shower known as the April Lyrids, which will peak on the night of April 21 into April 22. The best way to see it will be from any high point in the city or in open areas such as beaches or the countryside. An almost full moon will accompany this meteor shower so the best time to see them is just before sunrise, when the Moon sets.
On June 10 there will be an annular solar eclipse or the so-called ‘ring of fire’ may be partially visible in Europe. This occurs when the Moon, the Sun and the Earth are aligned, so that the lunar disk is unable to cover the entire Sun, leaving a ring of light around the silhouette of the moon.
On August 2, Saturn will be closer to Earth and will be visible throughout the night. As it gets closer to Earth, its rings and moons will be visible through a telescope.
August 11 will see the yearly meteor shower known as the ‘Tears of Saint Lawrence’ which results in shooting stars crossing the sky and is expected to be especially good this year as the Perseids will coincide with a dark and almost moonless sky. This begins in mid July and last until August 24, but the peak is on the night of August 11 to 12.
On September 14, Neptune, the most distant planet in the solar system, will be closer and with a pair of binoculars will be visible in the constellation Aquarius.
The night of December 13 will see the Geminid shower.
These are not the only phenomena worth watching, but unfortunately, not all can be seen throughout the world.
Full moon can be seen on February 27, March 28, April 27, May 26, June 24, July 24, August 22, September 20, October 20, November 19 and December 19.
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