2017 was a fantastic year for astronomy, mainly due to one of the most publicized events in recent memory: The Great American Solar Eclipse. On August 21st, for just a few moments, the entirety of the United States was treated to a magnificent solar eclipse. Events such as these are rare, and so we must cherish them as much as possible. With that being said, I got to thinking about some of the other celestial events that we can look forward to this year; I figured that I would highlight just a few of those exciting events that we can all prepare for now.
The Moon and Venus Collide
Don’t worry, the Moon isn’t actually going to collide with Venus, but it might as well. On July 15th, anyone looking up at the night sky will be pleasantly surprised to see the waxing crescent Moon come ever so close to the planet of Venus. Perhaps the best vantage point is from North America, in the southwestern part of the sky, where the two celestial bodies will appear to be 1.6 degrees apart. If you have telescopes, make sure to break them out for this one!
Total Lunar Eclipse
For those around the world who were unable to witness the North American total solar eclipse, now you have your chance to see something just as beautiful: a complete lunar eclipse. Viewers in South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia will all have the opportunity to see the event in which the Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow, completely blacking it out. What makes this particular eclipse so unique is that the Moon will be passing through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, thus potentially making this one of the darkest lunar eclipses in recent memory. The eclipse will take place on July 27th at 3:30 p.m. EST.
Get ready for what has historically been described as one of the most intense and breathtaking meteor showers in existence. The Perseid Meteor Shower produces roughly 60 meteors every hour during its peak. This year’s shower in particular has the potential to be especially mesmerizing, seeing as how the sky should be crystal clear on from August 12th through the 13th.
This year is shaping up to be an excellent one for astronomers and sky-watchers alike. Make sure to plan accordingly for all of these events. It should also be noted that this is only a small portion of the celestial events that are set to take place this year. So get out there and watch the skies!