Astronomical

1: of or relating to astronomy <astronomical observations>

2: enormously or inconceivably large or great <astronomical numbers>

Earlier this week, several of my friends shared a poster via the Grand Overseer that lists skyward observation events for 2013. Depending on where you are in the world and how close the Earth the event is — you may be able to see them with the naked eye.

Poster from Grand Overseer

Poster from Grand Overseer

These events are certainly astronomical as they are astronomy related. While the list from Facebook may seem hefty, 2013 will not be an unusual year in terms of the number of events — at least not when you compare it to surrounding years. Indeed, the list of Facebook is actually a few events shy, so I’ve added to it using Sea and Sky’s Astronomy Reference Guide and a few other sites. The first few events were earlier this month. I don’t want anyone in the Realm to miss any of the others, so mark your calendars! Here’s a quick review of what we can view later this year.

  1. January 3, 4 — Quadrantids meteor shower
  2. January 21 — a near Moon-Jupiter conjunction
  3. February 2-23 — clear view of Mercury
  4. March 10-24 — PANSTARRS comet (this comet was discovered two years ago)
  5. April 21, 22 — Lyrids meteor shower
  6. April 25 — partial lunar eclipse
  7. April 28 — Saturn at opposition (Opposition means the planet will be directly opposite the sun and in clear view from Earth)
  8. May 5, 6 — Eta Aquarids meteor shower
  9. May 9 — “Ring of Fire” annular eclipse (An annular eclipse is when the moon lines up between Earth and the sun. The ring of fire eclipse is when the moon’s visible diameter fits inside the visible disk of the sun, leaving a ring of fiery light around the edges.)
  10. May 24-30 — “Dance of the Planets
  11. May 25 — penumbral lunar eclipse (A prenumbral eclipse happens when the moon is caught in part of Earth’s shadow. You can still see the moon, but instead of looking like a pale bright white, it will look like a pale bright grey.)
  12. An easy view of our solar system

    An easy view of our solar system

    May 28 — conjunction of Venus and Jupiter

  13. June 23 — supermoon (A supermoon happens when a full moon is in perigee — closest to Earth in its monthly elliptical rotation around Earth.)
  14. July 28, 29 — Southern Delta Aquarids meteor shower
  15. August 12, 13 — Perseids meteor shower
  16. August 27 — Neptune at opposition
  17. October, November — ISON comet (this comet was discovered last year)
  18. October 3 — Uranus at opposition
  19. October 18 — penumbral lunar eclipse
  20. October 21 — Orionids meteor shower
  21. November 3 — hybrid solar eclipse (A hybrid eclipse is an annular-total eclipse combo. In some spots on Earth, the eclipse will look total — where the moon totally blocks out the sun. In other parts of the world, the eclipse will look annular, like a ring of fire — where the moon fits inside the sun. These are rare compared to other eclipses.)
  22. Mid-November, December — clear view of Venus
  23. November 17, 18 — Leonids meteor shower
  24. December 13-14 — Geminids meteor shower

I hope this helps you mark your calendars for these awe-inspiring events! If I have left out any event that is likely to be visible, please let me know. Keep a look -out for announcements from your favorite astronomical Facebook pages as these dates get closer. Dates and visibility may vary slightly depending on where you live. My favorite astronomy pages are Milky way scientists, NASA, I f&%@ing love science, and Neil deGrassi Tyson.


+ Featured image, annular solar eclipse photographed over China.