Look for these astronomical highlights


Cincinnati – In 2020, backyard stargazers were treated to a surprise guest in Comet Nevis and a full moon treat on Halloween night.

Astronomers in Patagonia marveled at a total solar eclipse, and Jupiter and Saturn joined together in a lifetime.

What does the sky hold for 2021? Mark your calendar lender, as the first event of the year is less than two weeks away. Venus will appear next to the moon on January 11, as it travels behind the sun. Two lunar eclipses are also expected in 2021, one in spring and the other in autumn. And, the Perseids meteor shower will once again brighten the sky in Gust.

The astronomical events of the year cannot be missed here:

The moon is passing

If you see a bright star next to the moon at night, it is likely to be a planet. Just before sunrise on January 11, facing southeast and just above the horizon you will see a thin crescent moon to the right of the shining Venus.

Venus will then slowly make its way behind the Sun and disappear for several months. It will pop out in the evening sky in late May and shine like a bright object like a star all summer and autumn.

January 20 and 21, the turn of Mars will come. The moon of the first quarter will pass through the red planet every night. Our two largest planets receive guests in the morning sky when the Moon joins Saturn on April 6 and Jupiter on April 7.

The comparative size of the first four planets from the Sun.  From left: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.  The earth is 8,000 miles wide.
The comparative size of the first four planets from the Sun. From left: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. The earth is 8,000 miles wide.

Planets of love and war

In July, the planets Venus and Mars will appear very close together in the sky.

Mars, Venus and the crescent line will form just after sunset on July 11th. And on July 12 and 13, the planets of love and war will be about two and a half degrees apart. You will be able to see both planets simultaneously through a small telescope.

Mercury, always a hard to find planet because it rarely stays away from the glare of the sun, will only show its best after sunset in May. The Mercury observation season starts on May 13 when it will be next to the Moon and will end on May 28 after Ga con connection with Venus.

Two lunar eclipses

The total lunar eclipse is one of the coolest astronomical events to witness – the moon enters the shadow of the earth and can turn into all the shades of creepy orange and red.

There will be a lunar eclipse on the morning of May 26, but what you see depends on where you live. From the Midwest, the eclipse will start just like the moon, so you will only see a partial eclipse. The East Coast will have to lose most of the whole thing. You will see more from the west where you live. People living in the Mountain Time Zone will see most of them, while residents of the West Coast will see a total eclipse.

November 19, the moon will enter the Earth’s shadow for the second time in 2021. However, this would not be a total lunar eclipse, but on top of that, more than 97% of the moon would be blocked. It is possible that the moon will become so dark that you will see a slight pink glow on one side of the lunar surface that morning. At best, this partial lunar eclipse will appear across the United States.

John Thamas of Great Falls, Montana took this photo of the September 27, 2015 lunar eclipse.
John Thamas of Great Falls, Montana took this photo of the September 27, 2015 lunar eclipse.

Small eclipse and the best meteor shower

On June 10 the moon will cut off a portion of the sun known as the solar eclipse. It is best seen from northern Canada, but most states in Minnesota and Virginia and the northeastern United States will be able to see a small sliver of the sun that day.

The best meteor shower of the year could be Persidas, which peaks on 12 and 13 Aug Gust. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year, and as the moon rises in large numbers, you will see a streak between 10-10 meteors. The sky per hour.

Dean Regas is an astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory, and the author of the books “100 Things to See in the Night Sky” and “Facts from Space”. It can be reached at [email protected]

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This article appeared on the original Cincinnati Inquiry: 2021 space events include lunar eclipses, meteor showers