What is there to see in the night sky in 2021?
This year will be rich in bright astronomical events – for 12 months, the immense universe will delight us with fabulous meteor showers, magical solar and lunar eclipses, as well as mystical supermoons.
Since this article will cover most of the astronomical events for this year and there will be many, we decided to change the concept and give a more detailed presentation of what to expect. Instead of 10 individual cosmic events, we will include 10 types and all the dates throughout the year that you need to know.
With this said, let’s see what 2021 has installed for us.
1. Solar Eclipses
Solar eclipses are astronomical events, during which the Moon itself covers the solar disk partially or completely. It is observed when the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up in one straight line and the impression arises that the natural satellite of our planet eclipses the Sun.
There will be two solar eclipses in 2021. The annular one will occur on June 10 and will be visible from the Northern Hemisphere and partly from more southern regions.
Then, on December 4, we will have the chance to see a total Solar eclipse or at least, people from Southern parts of the world.
2. Lunar Eclipses
Lunar eclipses are astronomical events that are observed at the time of the full moon, when three celestial bodies – the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon – line up in one straight line, and the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon.
Lunar eclipses are distinguished between total and partial, depending on whether the earth’s shadow covers the lunar disk in whole or in part.
Like solar, lunar eclipses, according to the astronomical calendar, will occur twice in 2021 – total and partial. A total lunar eclipse in 2021 will occur on May 26 – it will be seen by residents of Australia, the Pacific Ocean, East Asia, North and South America.
A partial lunar eclipse is expected on November 19 – an astronomical phenomenon can be observed in Australia, the Pacific Ocean, East Asia, North and South America.
A supermoon is an astronomical event that is observed at the moment of the closest approach of the Moon and the Earth and you will have this chance several times over 2021.
According to the astronomical calendar, there will be three supermoons and all three will coincide with the full moon. The moon at this time has a beautiful reddish hue, which terrified people in ancient times.
The first supermoon is expected on April 27, the second on May 26, and the third on June 24. The supermoon generally lasts three to four days, and the coincidence of the Super Moon with the perigee lasts for several minutes.
4. Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn Conjunction
If you happen to read this article on time, you may catch one of the most extraordinary astronomical events of 2021 – the triple conjunction of Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn.
The time to see this rare event is from today (January 9) to January 11. While it will not be easy to observe, you will have the greatest chance about 30 minutes after sunset. The three planets will come together low on the west-southwest horizon.
You can expect to see Jupiter with the naked eye but I suggest using binoculars for better chances to see all three. You might even spot Jupiter’s largest moons.
5. Venus-Mars Conjunction
We had the amazing chance to see the closest Great Conjunction in centuries in December 2020 but this year, we will see a similarly close one between Venus and Mars.
On July 12, after sunset, you will see the two planets so close that they might appear as one. I believe you should be able to notice Venus first since it is much brighter than Mars but as the minutes pass by and your eyes get used to the sight, you should see Mars on the left as well.
6. Lyrids Meteor Shower
Is there a person on Earth that does not love abundant meteor showers? After all, why waste the chance of making a wish that will surely come true? 2021 will provide numerous astronomical events of this kind and one you should expect is the Lyrids meteor shower.
The peak of Lyrid activity, according to the astronomical calendar, will occur on April 22-23, and the total intensity will be 15-20 meteors per hour. The inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere will be able to enjoy this bright celestial phenomenon.
7. Aquarids Meteor Shower
Earthlings, as usual, will be able to observe this astronomical event in early May 2021. The meteor shower radiant is located in the constellation Aquarius. The peak of Aquarid activity begins immediately with the end of the Lyrid meteor shower and will reach its maximum on May 6-7.
At its peak, the Aquarids starfall reaches 60-70 meteors per hour, while the best shooting stars will be seen in the Southern Hemisphere.
8. Perseids Meteor Shower
One of the most popular annual meteor showers will delight us from August 10-20. The peak activity of the meteor shower, according to the astronomical calendar, should be between August 12-14.
At their peak, the Perseids show up to 100 meteors per hour – residents of the entire Northern Hemisphere will be able to enjoy this colorful astronomical event.
The Perseids are particles of the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet – it approaches our planet about once every 135 years. The last time this happened was in December 1992.
9. Leonids Meteor Shower
The Leonids, famous for their bright and abundant flares, are observed annually on November 6-30. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo, and the peak of activity, which is no more than 15 bright meteors per hour, falls on November 17-18.
In 2021, this astronomical event can be observed from anywhere on Earth, although a more colorful astronomical phenomenon awaits the inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere.
10. Ursids Meteor Shower
The Ursids meteor shower gives us the last chance of the year to make a wish from seeing a shooting star – according to the astronomical calendar, it will spill onto Earth on December 17 and will last about seven days. The Starfall radian is in the constellation Ursa Minor.
The intensity of the Ursids is low – up to 10 “shooting stars” per hour, and the peak of activity normally occurs between December 22-23. Unfortunately, this astronomical event can be observed only from the Northern Hemisphere in 2021.
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