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The Top Astronomy Events for 2019

Here are some dates to help you get ready for some of the exciting celestial events that are coming the rest of this year. The good news is… Many of these can be seen with the unaided eye, but some may be better seen with a good pair of binoculars to make the most of your viewing!

April

  • April 5: New moon.
  • April 11: Mercury: In the eastern sky just before Sunrise, Mercury will reach its greatest western elongation of 27.7 degrees from the Sun.
  • April 16-25: The  Lyrids Meteor Shower will produce about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. The peak time for viewing is on April 22-23.
  • April 19: Full moon.

May

  • May 1-28: The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower is capable of 60 meteors per hour. This event actually begins on April 19, but becomes more visible in the month of May with the peak days occurring on May 6-7.
  • May 4: New moon.
  • May 18: Full moon/blue moon.

June

  • June 3: New moon.
  • June 10: Jupiter in opposition, where Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth in the face of the planet is fully illuminated by the Sun.
  • June 17: Full moon.
  • June 21: Summer solstice, the day in which Earth experiences its longest amount of Sunlight marking the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the first day of winter and shortest amount of Sunlight in the southern hemisphere.
  • June 23: Mercury: In the Western sky just after Sunset, Mercury reaches its greatest Eastern elongation of 25.2 degrees from the Sun.

July

  1. July 2: New moon.
  2. July 2: A total solar eclipse will occur as the moon completely blocks the Sun.
  3. July 9: Saturn in opposition, where Saturn will be its closest approach to Earth and the face of the planet will be completely illuminated by the Sun.
  4. July 16: Full moon.
  5. July 16: Partial lunar eclipse.
  6. July 12: The Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour. The peak times for viewing will be July 28-twenty-nine.

August

  • August 1: New moon.
  • August 1: The Perseids Meteor Shower capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour. This event actually begins on July 17, but becomes more visible in the month of August, with the peak days occurring on August 12-13.
  • August 9: Mercury: In the eastern side just before Sunrise Mercury will be at its greatest western elongation of 19.0 degrees from the Sun.
  • August 15: Full moon.
  • August 30: New moon.

September

  • September 9: Neptune in opposition, when the planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and the face of Neptune will be fully illuminated by the Sun.
  • September 14: Full moon.
  • September 23: Autumn or fall equinox occurs, when the Sun shines directly on the equator and there are equal hours of day and night around the globe. This event marks the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere and the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere.
  • September 28: New moon.

October

  • October 2: The  Orionids Meteor Shower begins, capable of producing an average of 20 meteors per hour, runs from October 2 through November 7. However, the peak viewing times occur on October 21-twenty-two.
  • October 6-10: The Perseids Meteor Shower begins, capable of producing around 10 meteors per hour. The peak viewing time occurs on October 8.
  • October 13: Full moon.
  • October 20: Mercury: In the western sky just after Sunset, Mercury reaches its greatest Eastern elongation of 24.6 degrees from the Sun.
  • October 27: Uranus in opposition, making its closest approach to Earth where the face of the planet is fully illuminated by the Sun.
  • October 28: New moon.

November

  • November 5-6: The Taurids Meteor Shower occurs capable of producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. The event actually begins on September 7 and runs through December 10, however the peak viewing times occur on November 5-6.
  • November 11: Rare event: Transit of Mercury across the Sun. The planet Mercury moves directly between Earth and the Sun. Viewer should use telescopes with approved solar filters.
  • November 12: Full moon.
  • November 17-18: The Leonids Meteor Shower occurs producing around 15 meteors per hour during its peak. The event runs from November 6-30, but peak viewing times are on November 17-18.
  • November 24: Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter occurs bringing the planets visible within 1.4 degrees of one another in the western sky just after Sunset.
  • November 26: New moon.
  • November 28: Mercury: In the eastern sky just before Sunrise, the planet Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation of 20.1 degrees from the Sun.

December

  • December 12: Full moon.
  • December 13-14: The Geminids Meteor Shower reaches its peak producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour. The event begins on December 7 and runs through the 17th, however December 13-14 are peak viewing times.
  • December 21-22: The Ursids Meteor Shower reaches its peak producing between 5-10 meteors per hour, the event actually runs between December 17-25.
  • December 22: Winter solstice. The first day of winter occurs bringing the shortest hours of daylight of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the longest hours of daylight and the first day of summer in the southern hemisphere.
  • December 26: New moon.
  • December 26: Annular Solar Eclipse. This eclipse occurs when the distance of the moon is too far away from the Earth to completely cover the Sun, resulting in a ring of light around the darkened moon.

Johnny Rodgers