The past few years have been literally packed with celestial events. It included the one in 2017 that made all of the headlines, the total solar eclipse.
2018 has also had its fair share of celestial events, including some solar eclipses, a number of supermoons, and lunar eclipses. You can expect much of the same in 2019.
We are entering into a year that is going to be filled with rare astronomical events. If you’re in the right area of the earth, you can see 5 eclipses, a rare planet transit, multiple meteor showers, and a Super Blood Wolf Moon.
The first week of January is when the excitement begins with a partial solar eclipse. It happens on the sixth when the moon passes between the earth and the sun and the partial solar eclipse will occur.
If you are already digging out your eclipse glasses from 2017, you may want to leave them packed away. Unfortunately, it’s going to happen at 8:42 PM Eastern Time, long after the sun has set for those on the US Atlantic coast.
Although you will miss that partial eclipse, January has another special experience that is sure to be exciting. It hasn’t happened in years but a total lunar eclipse, described by NASA as one of the ‘most dazzling shows’ in the sky is going to be seen in the United States. It happens when the earth, sun, and moon line up and the sun’s light will be forced to bend around the edges of the moon. It will result in a reddish color, known as the “Blood Moon.”
Depending upon your location, it is going to happen on either the 20th or 21st January. To top it off, the moon is going to be at its closest distance from Earth, making it appear larger than usual. This results in a lunar condition that is referred to as a Supermoon.
Lunar eclipses only occur during a full moon so the first full moon in January will be the target. The first full moon in January is the “Wolf Moon”.
Therefore, you can see the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse at 9:12 PM Pacific time on January 20. If you are on the Atlantic coast of the United States, you can see it at 12:12 AM Eastern time on January 21.
There is also confirmation that many more celestial events will take place in the following months. This includes a blue moon, 3 different supermoons, a few rocket launches and a close approach by both Jupiter and the moon.
Here are a few key astronomical events to look for in 2019:
May 6: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
When Haley’s Comet flew by the earth in 1986, left a trail of dust and debris that the earth goes through every year. Known as the Eta Aquarids meteor shower, it promises to be one of the best of the year.
One of the reasons why it has the potential to be so spectacular is because the new moon occurs only two days before the shower. The skies will be darker so you will have a clearer view of the show with your naked eye.
Eta Aquarids occur over a time span between April 19 and May 26. The peak, however, will start at 3 AM on May 6 and last until the sun comes up.
July 2: Total Solar Eclipse
You will have to travel outside of North America if you want to see the solar eclipse. If you happen to be traveling to Chile, Argentina or close by areas in South America, it should be a site not to be missed.
July 16: Partial Lunar Eclipse
A number of celestial events are taking place in July. A partial lunar eclipse will take place just a few weeks after the total solar eclipse.
Unfortunately, North America is not going to see this event but you will see it if you are in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Maybe it’s a good time to buy tickets for down under?
November 11: Mercury Transit
This celestial event only takes place about 13 times every 100 years. It happens when Mercury passes between the earth and the sun. It’s known as a transit and it will occur in 2019.
It’s actually the second time that it has taken place in two years. You’ll be able to see a glimpse of the tiny planet, Mercury that is closest to the sun when it passes in front of the sun. It occurs on November 11 starting at 7:34 AM. It will last for up to 5 1/2 hours, so even if you don’t get up early, you will probably see the black dot on the sun.
December 26: Annular Solar Eclipse
2019 starts off with a celestial bang and it ends in much the same way.
You will have a dark sky when the sun comes up on December 26, 2019. The one thing you will see is the ‘Ring of fire’ as the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth.
This type of eclipse occurs because the moon’s diameter is smaller than the sun from the perspective of somebody standing on the planet earth. It will block the light but you will still see an annulus (ring). If you want to get a front row seat to this eclipse, you should head to Asia or the Middle East.