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Stargazing calendar 2021: Eclipses, meteor showers and other astronomical events this year


#Break out the telescope and stretch out your neck, because another year of stargazing is upon us.

#Two lunar eclipses, a good summer meteor shower, and a close planetary conjunction highlight the stargazing calendar in 2021, which will otherwise be relatively quiet.

#Lacking major events like the historic great conjunction at the end of 2020 or the upcoming total lunar eclipse of 2024, the astronomical calendar still has plenty to offer for amateur and experienced stargazers alike.

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The big event in 2021 will be the supermoon total lunar eclipse, which will be visible above the #Pacific #Northwest in the early hours of #May 26. The moon will not only appear larger in the sky, but will turn a shade of red as the #Earth’s shadow passes over it.

#It also promises to be a good year for the #Perseid meteor shower in #August, which will coincide with a new moon making skies dark enough to see a good show. The shower will peak on #Aug. 12 and 13, a beautiful time of year in the #Northwest.

#And while there’s no great conjunction to look forward to this year, there will be a close conjunction of #Mars and #Venus on #July 13, which is a great excuse to break out the telescope under clear summer skies.

#Here’s what to look for when you look up at the night sky in 2021:

JAN. 2-3

#Quadrantid #Meteor #Shower

The early winter meteor shower won’t offer much of a show to those in the #Pacific #Northwest. #Aside from possible cloud cover, the waning gibbous moon during the meteor shower’s peak will make the meteors harder to see, which under dark skies would number about 25 per hour. #It may be possible to see some closer to the shower’s end on #Jan. 12.

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APRIL 23-24

#Lyrid #Meteor #Shower

#Conditions won’t be optimal for the peak of this year’s #Lyrids meteor shower, with a waxing gibbous moon hanging bright in the sky. The #Lyrids are known for their fast and bright meteors, though typically they only number about 20 per hour. #Some may be visible around the beginning of the meteor shower on #April 14.

APRIL 27

#Supermoon

A “supermoon” is a term used for a full moon that is near its closest approach to #Earth, appearing larger and brighter than normal. The #April supermoon will be the first of two in 2021 (a third on #June 24 is also considered by some to be close enough to be deemed “super”).

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MAY 6-7

#And #Aquarid #Meteor #Shower

#Best viewed from the southern tropics, the #Eta #Aquarids usually produce 10 to 30 meteors per hour at their peak for those in the northern hemisphere. A crescent moon during the meteor shower’s peak this year will allow for darker skies.

The total lunar eclipse at 4:00 a.m., #Oct. 8, 2014.#Mike #Zacchino/The #Oregonian

MAY 26

#Supermoon #Total #Lunar #Eclipse

The marquee astronomical event of the year will be a total lunar eclipse that overlaps with the second “supermoon” of the year. #Look for the full moon to turn red as the shadow of the #Earth falls across it.

JUNE 10

#Annular #Solar #Eclipse

#This isn’t a total solar eclipse and it won’t be visible from the #Pacific #Northwest, but the annular solar eclipse – where a smaller moon blocks only part of the sun, creating a “ring of fire” effect – will be visible in the northeast U.S. and part of the #Midwest.

JULY 13

#Conjunction of #Mars and #Venus

#Summertime stargazers will be able to fit both #Mars and #Venus into a single telescope view, as they appear close to one another during a conjunction of the two planets. #With a thin crescent moon and clear summer skies, it should be a great occasion for stargazing in the #Pacific #Northwest.

JULY 28-29

#Delta #Aquarid #Meteor #Shower

#Like the #Eta #Aquarids, the #Delta #Aquarids are best seen from the southern hemisphere, producing a minor shower in the north. A waning gibbous moon at their peak will likely drown out the scant meteors.

#Alpha #Capricornid #Meteor #Shower

#Peaking the same two nights as the #Delta #Aquarids, the #Alpha #Capricornids will be another faint shower, thanks to the bright gibbous moon. #Typically, this shower is known for its bright fireballs and is equally visible on both sides of the equator.

Perseid meteor shower 2016 from rural Oregon

The #Perseid meteor shower of 2016, seen from a canyon along the #Deschutes #River outside #Maupin, #Oregon.LC- #Mark #Graves

AUG. 12-13

#Perseid #Meteor #Shower

#One of the best meteor showers of the year, the #Perseids promise to be a good show this year, with a new moon just a few days before the shower’s peak. #Under dark skies, the #Perseids usually number 50 to 75 per hour. #Clear summer skies and warm temperatures make it a reliably good event.

AUG. 22

#Blue #Moon (seasonal)

#We tend to think of a “blue moon” as the second full moon to occur within a single calendar month, but the term is also used for an extra full moon in a single season. #Confusingly, it’s the third full moon in the season, not the extra fourth, that is considered the blue moon. #This year the blue moon will come in the last third of summer.

OCT. 19-20

#Orionid #Meteor #Shower

The #Orionids typically produce 10 to 20 meteors per hour, though numbers can swell up to 75 in good years. #This year doesn’t look promising, as a full moon will drown out most of the display.

NOV. 16-17

#Leonid #Meteor #Shower

The #Leonids are debris from the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, known for infrequent outbursts of activity, most recently in 2001. There won’t be any major #Leonids events until 2099, and no good showers until around 2030, though the shower still produces peaks of around 15 meteors per hour. #This year’s peak will be drowned out by a nearly full moon.

NOV. 19

#Partial #Lunar #Eclipse

#While not technically a total lunar eclipse, this partial eclipse will see #Earth’s shadow covering a full 97% of the moon. The event will be visible for the entire U.S., reaching its maximum eclipse in the wee hours of the morning. The moon will be near its farthest point from #Earth, so it will appear a bit smaller in the sky.

DEC. 13-14

#Geminid #Meteor #Shower

The strongest meteor shower of the year comes on the final days of fall, with peaks of up to 120 meteors per hour. The #Pacific #Northwest is usually a poor place to look for #Geminids due to reliably cloudy skies, and this year’s peak will be further hampered by a waxing gibbous moon. #Stargazers who want to see the shower should head outside a few hours before dawn, or hope to get lucky in the early days of the shower, which will be active between #Dec. 4 and 20.

DEC. 21-22

#Ursid #Meteor #Shower

#Overshadowed by the #Geminids and the holiday season, the #Ursids meteor shower rounds out the year with peak activity of around five to 10 meteors per hour, running from #Dec. 17 to 26. #Observers might be able to see the meteors in the late morning hours on the peak days of #Dec. 21 and 22, though a nearly full moon might ruin your chances.

– #Jamie #Hale; [email protected]; 503-294-4077; @HaleJamesB





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https://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/2020/12/stargazing-calendar-2021-eclipses-meteor-showers-and-other-astronomical-events-this-year.html

##Stargazing #calendar ##Eclipses #meteor #showers #astronomical #events #year

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