Many of these events and dates used here were obtained from the U. Events on the calendar are organized by date and each is identified with an astronomy icon as outlined below. You can use the UTC clock below to figure out how many hours to add or subtract for your local time.
January 3, 4 - Quadrantids Meteor Shower. The Quadrantids is an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. It is thought to be produced by dust grains left behind by an extinct comet known as EH1, which was discovered in The shower runs annually from January It peaks this year on the night of the 3rd and morning of the 4th.
The moon will be a thin crescent and should not interfere with what could be a good show this year. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky. January 6 - New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
January 6 - Venus at Greatest Western Elongation. The planet Venus reaches greatest eastern elongation of 47 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Venus since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the bright planet in the eastern sky before sunrise. January 6 - Partial Solar Eclipse. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun, sometimes resembling a bite taken out of a cookie.
A partial solar eclipse can only be safely observed with a special solar filter or by looking at the Sun's reflection. The partial eclipse will be visible in parts of eastern Asia and the northern Pacific Ocean. January 21 - Full Moon, Supermoon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps.
This is also the first of three supermoons for The Moon will be at its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual. January 22 - Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. A conjunction of Venus and Jupiter will be visible on January The two bright planets will be visible within 2. Look for this impressive sight in the east just before sunrise.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth's dark shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. February 4 - New Moon. February 19 - Full Moon, Supermoon. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Snow Moon because the heaviest snows usually fell during this time of the year. Since hunting is difficult, this moon has also been known by some tribes as the Full Hunger Moon, since the harsh weather made hunting difficult. This is also the second of three supermoons for February 27 - Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation.
The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset. March 6 - New Moon. March 20 - March Equinox. The March equinox occurs at UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of spring vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.
March 21 - Full Moon, Supermoon. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Worm Moon because this was the time of year when the ground would begin to soften and the earthworms would reappear. This is also the last of three supermoons for April 5 - New Moon. April 11 - Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky.
Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise. April 19 - Full Moon. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Pink Moon because it marked the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the first spring flowers. Many coastal tribes called it the Full Fish Moon because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.
April 22, 23 - Lyrids Meteor Shower. The Lyrids is an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. The shower runs annually from April It peaks this year on the night of the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd.
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These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The waning gibbous moon will block out many of the fainter meteors this year, but if you are patient you should still be able to catch a few of the brightest ones. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Lyra, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
May 4 - New Moon. May 6, 7 - Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has known and observed since ancient times.
The shower runs annually from April 19 to May It peaks this year on the night of May 6 and the morning of the May 7. The thin crescent moon will set early in the evening leaving dark skies for what should be a good show. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky. May 18 - Full Moon, Blue Moon. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance.
Since this is the third of four full moons in this season, it is known as a blue moon. But since full moons occur every The extra full moon of the season is known as a blue moon. Blue moons occur on average once every 2. June 3 - New Moon.
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June 10 - Jupiter at Opposition. The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter's cloud bands.
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A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter's four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet. June 17 - Full Moon. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Strawberry Moon because it signaled the time of year to gather ripening fruit.
It also coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvesting season. June 21 - June Solstice. The June solstice occurs at UTC.
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The North Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at This is the first day of summer summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. June 23 - Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. July 2 - New Moon. July 2 - Total Solar Eclipse. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the Sun, revealing the Sun's beautiful outer atmosphere known as the corona.
The path of totality will only be visible in parts of the southern pacific Ocean, central Chile, and central Argentina. A partial eclipse will be visible in most parts of the southern Pacific Ocean and western South America. July 9 - Saturn at Opposition. The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see Saturn's rings and a few of its brightest moons.
July 16 - Full Moon. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Buck Moon because the male buck deer would begin to grow their new antlers at this time of year. July 16 - Partial Lunar Eclipse. A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's partial shadow, or penumbra, and only a portion of it passes through the darkest shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse a part of the Moon will darken as it moves through the Earth's shadow.
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July 28, 29 - Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids is an average shower that can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by comets Marsden and Kracht. The shower runs annually from July 12 to August It peaks this year on the night of July 28 and morning of July The waning crescent moon will not be too much of a problem this year. The skies should be dark enough for what could be a good show. August 1 - New Moon. August 9 - Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation.
August 12, 13 - Perseids Meteor Shower.
The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors.
Some writings suggest that the time around the Summer solstice at the end of June was when honey was ripe and ready to be harvested from hives or from the wild, which made this the "sweetest" Moon. A recent article discredited the theory I have mentioned in previous years that the term "honeymoon" came from the custom of serving mead at the wedding and giving the couple enough honey wine to last their first month as newlyweds I've not had time to look into this further. Europeans also called this the Rose Moon.
Some believe this name comes from the color of the full Moon at this time of year. The orbit of the Moon around the Earth is almost in the same plane as the orbit of the Earth around the Sun only about 5 degrees off. When the Sun appears highest in the sky near the summer solstice, the full Moon opposite the Sun generally appears lowest in the sky. Particularly for Europe's higher latitudes, the full Moon nearest the summer solstice shines through more atmosphere than at other times of the year.
This can give the full Moon a reddish or rose color for much the same reasons that a rising or setting Sun appears red. For the Washington, DC area, on Monday, June 17, , the highest the full Moon will reach in the sky will be only Another tribe has also given this full Moon a name. This tribe is geographically scattered but mostly living in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
This tribe's language is primarily English, but with a liberal smattering of acronyms, arcane scientific and engineering terms, and Hawaiian phrases cheerfully contributed by the Deputy Project Manager at the time. Comprised of people from all backgrounds, this tribe is devoted to the study of the Moon. In lunisolar calendars the months change with the new Moon and full Moons fall in the middle of the lunar months.
This full Moon is the middle of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar and Sivan in the Hebrew calendar. In the Islamic calendar the months start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon a few days after the New Moon. As usual, the wearing of suitably celebratory celestial attire is encouraged in honor of the full Moon. As spring ends and summer begins, the daily periods of sunlight lengthen to their longest on the solstice, then begin to shorten again.
Our hour clock is based on the average length of the solar day throughout the year. Because the actual length of a solar day varies, the earliest sunrises of the year occur before the summer solstice, the day with the longest period of sunlight, and the latest sunsets of the year occur after the solstice. On the day of the full Moon, Monday, June 17, , morning twilight will begin at AM, sunrise will be at AM, the Sun will reach a maximum altitude of This will be the day with the longest period of sunlight, 14 hours, 53 minutes, and On the day of the solstice, morning twilight will begin at AM, sunrise will be at AM, the Sun will reach a maximum altitude of The latest sunrises of the year will occur on Friday and Saturday, June 28 and 29, at PM.
By the day of the full Moon after next, Tuesday, July 16, , morning twilight will begin at AM, sunrise will be at AM, the Sun will reach a maximum altitude of On the evening of the full Moon on June 17, , as evening twilight ends, the planet Mercury and the planet Mars will appear about a degree apart in the west-northwest at about 5 degrees above the horizon. Mercury will appear brighter than Mars, with Mercury on the right and Mars on the left. The two bright stars to the upper right of Mercury and Mars will be Pollux and Castor, the "twins" in the constellation Gemini the Twins.
The brightest planet in the evening sky will be Jupiter, appearing in the southeast at about 18 degrees above the horizon. Jupiter was at its brightest and closest to the Earth for this apparition a week before, on June 10, The "Summer Triangle" will be rising in the east-northeast. The "Summer Triangle" is made up of Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra the Harp appearing highest at about 42 degrees above the horizon ; Deneb, the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus the Swan on the left at about 24 degrees above the horizon ; and Altair, the brightest star in the constellation Aquila the Eagle on the right at about 12 degrees above the horizon.
About 10 minutes after evening twilight ends, the bright planet Saturn will rise, appearing as bright in the east-southeast as Mercury will appear on the opposite horizon in the west-northwest. Saturn will be at its closest and brightest for this apparition on July 9, Mercury and Mars will appear at their closest to each other the next evening, June 18, , less than a third of a degree apart, after which they will appear to separate as Mercury shifts to the left and Mars shifts to the right. As the month progresses the planets and stars will generally appear to shift to the west each evening.
By the evening of the full Moon on July 16, , as evening twilight ends, Mercury and Mars will have set already, bright Jupiter will appear in the south-southeast at about 28 degrees above the horizon, and Saturn will appear in the southeast at 16 degrees above the horizon. The Summer Triangle will appear higher in the east with Vega appearing 62 degrees above the horizon. On the morning of the full Moon on June 17, , as morning twilight begins, the bright planet Jupiter will appear in the southwest at about 8 degrees above the horizon and the planet Saturn will appear in the south-southeast at about 25 degrees above this horizon.
The bright star appearing nearly overhead will be Deneb, part of the "Summer Triangle. As the month progresses, Jupiter, Saturn, and the background of stars will appear to shift towards the west. Venus will appear to shift closer to the Sun, rising closer to sunrise and becoming more difficult to see. Venus will pass on the far side of the Sun as seen from the Earth in mid-August By the morning of the full Moon on July 16, , as morning twilight begins, Jupiter will have already set and Saturn will appear low in the southwest at about 7 degrees above the horizon.
This summer should be a great time for Jupiter and Saturn watching, especially with a backyard telescope. Jupiter was at its closest and brightest for the year on June 10, while Saturn will be at its closest and brightest on July 9, called "opposition" because they are opposite the Earth from the Sun, effectively a "full Jupiter" and a "full Saturn".
Both will appear to shift towards the west over the coming months, making them visible earlier in the evening sky and friendlier for backyard stargazing, especially if you have young ones with earlier bed times. With clear skies and a small telescope you should be able to see Jupiter's four bright moons, Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, and Io, shifting positions noticeably in the course of an evening.
Galileo was the first person known to point the newly developed telescope at Jupiter, and he immediately noticed these moons that we now call the Galilean moons. For Saturn, you should be able to see the brightly illuminated rings as well as the motions of Saturn's moons, particularly the largest moon, Titan. On Wednesday evening, June 12, , the bright star appearing to the lower right of the waxing gibbous Moon will be Spica.
Even though they are not usually visible, I include in these Moon missives information about Near Earth Objects mostly asteroids that pass the Earth within about 10 or 15 lunar distances, because I find it interesting that we have discovered so many.
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