(Illustration by Kailyn Thai)
Fountain Valley High School

2019 Celestial Events

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently. When you look into infinity, you realize there are more important things.” ーCalvin and Hobbes

Mark your calendars for some space-cial celestial events from lunar eclipse to meteor showers! Your ancestors and some of the oldest people have looked into the sky and seen the same things as you so whether you are into space or not, just peek out your window and look at the sky! Beside these events, new moons are great times to see faint things like star clusters or galaxies or just any ordinary day.

 

February

19 – Wake up early because at 7:53 a.m. is when you can see the next supermoon! Early Native American tribes called this the Full Snow Moon or Full Hunger Moon because heaviest snow fell around this time leading to difficult hunting and hunger.

27 – Mercury will reach its greatest eastern elongation of 18.1 degrees from the Sun. This is your best chance to look at Mercury low in the western sky right after looking at the sunset.

 

March

20 – Flowers are blooming because spring is here and so is the March equinox at 1:58 p.m. There will be equal amounts of day and night around the world.

21 – Here’s your last chance to see a supermoon in 2019 at 5:43 p.m. This was called the Full Worm Moon as the ground would soften from the reappearing earthworms. Other names include the Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, Full Sap Moon, and Lenten Moon.

 

April

11 – Couldn’t get enough of Mercury? You can see the planet as it reaches its greatest western elongation of 27.7 degrees low in the eastern sky in the morning before sunrise.

19 – Full moons are pretty common, occurring once a month but this one is particularly known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, Growing Moon, Egg Moon and Full Pink Moon because of the growth of spring flowers, moss pink or wild ground phlox.

22, 23 – Although the Lyrids only has about 20 meteors per hour at its peak, it is still a great meteor shower to see. The peak will be on the night of April 22 and start of the 23. Meteors are created by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher leaving behind dust particles. There can be dust trials left behind too! The moon might block out some meteors because you can see the brightest ones; you can see this shower from dark places after midnight. You can see them many around the constellation Lyra but they can be seen anywhere in the sky.

 

May

6, 7 – April showers bring May flowers, but lucky for you, meteor showers can occur anytime. The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower’s peak can have 60 meteors per hour although the Northern Hemisphere can only see around 30; this year’s peak will be at the night of May 6 and morning of May 7. These meteors come from comet Halley. You can see them many around the constellation Aquarius but they can be seen anywhere in the sky.

18 – Blue Moons occur once in a blue moon; they occur when a full moon is the third of the four full moons in a season and happen around every 2.7 years. You can see this at 1:11 p.m. This moon has been called the Full Flower Moon because of the abundance of growing spring flowers; other names are Full Corn Planting Moon and Milk Moon.

 

June

10 – Want to see the biggest planet in our solar system? Jupiter will be fully lit by the Sun and closest to the Earth; you can see this and its moons all night long using a medium-sized telescope and or binoculars.

21 – School ending because it’s summer and the June solstice! The North Pole will reach its northernmost position in the sky at 7:54 a.m.

23 – Here’s another chance to see Mercury as it reaches its greatest eastern elongation of 25.2 degrees low in the western sky after sunset.

 

July

2 – Lights out because it’s a total solar eclipse as the moon covers the Sun, revealing the Sun’s corona.

9 – You can see God’s favorite planet because He put a ring on it, Saturn, on this day; this is the brightest and closest it will be to Earth 一 it will be visible all night.

16 –  A partial lunar eclipse will occur as the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow and a part of its darkest shadow.

28, 29 – It’s raining meteors! Look outside from a dark location after midnight to see the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower with 20 meteors at its peakーthe night of 28 and morning of 29. The meteors are produced by comets Marsden and Kracht’s left-behind debris; they will be around constellation Aquarius and or anywhere in the sky.

 

August

9 – Because its orbit is so small, you can see Mercury again as it reaches its greatest western elongation of 19° from the Sun low in the eastern sky before the sun rises.

12, 13 – If you’re looking for a real shower, look at meteors produced by comet Swift-Turtle at the Perseids Meteor Shower. Its peak, the night of 12 and morning of 13, will have up to 60 meteors per hour. The full moon might get in the way though but you can see the meteors from a dark place after midnight around the constellation Perseus and or anywhere in the sky.

 

September

9 – Tune in to see Neptune at its opposition to Earth. The sun will fully illuminate it all night long and this is the best time to see the planet. It will appear as a tiny blue dot because its great distance from Earth.

23 – Fall’s back along with September Equinox at 11:50 p.m.

 

October

8 – Comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner leaves dust grains, producing the Draconids Meteor Shower. This is a small shower with 10 meteors per hour but can be seen in the early evening and peaking the night of the 8th in a dark area around constellation Draco.

20 – Another great chance to see Mercury as it reaches its greatest eastern elongation of 24.6 degrees low in the western sky after the sun sets.

21, 22 – If the Draconids Meteor Shower wasn’t enough for you, the Orionids has up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak on the night of 21 and morning of 22. Like the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower, it is also produced by Comet Halley. Find it around it around the constellation Orion and or anywhere in the sky. Fainter meteors may be blocked by the bright Moon.

27 – Uranus will be closest to Earth but can only be seen as a tiny blue-green dot because its far distance from Earth.

 

November

5, 6 – Although the Taurids Meteor Shower may only have five to ten meteors, it is unusual because it is a product of two separate streams from Asteroid 2004 TG10 and Comet 2P Encke. The peak will be on Nov. 5 and can be seen from a dark area after midnight around constellation Taurus.

11 – Be prepared for a rare transit of Mercury across the Sun. The planet will be right between Earth and the Sun. This special event only occurs every several years and the next occurrence will be in 2039 so don’t miss it!

17, 18 – With 15 meteors at its peak on the night of the 17 and morning of 18, the Leonids Meteor Shower is a result of comet Tempel-Tuttle’s dust grains. Look for meteors around constellation Leo and or anywhere in the sky after midnight.

24 – Venus and Jupiter can be seen within 1.4° of each other in the western sky after the sun sets.

28 – Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation of 20.1° again in the eastern sky before the sun rises.

 

December

13, 14 – If you are planning to see a meteor shower, this is the one. The Geminids Meteor shower has up to 120 multi-colored meteors per hour at its peak on the night of the 13 and morning of the 14. The almost full moon will cover many meteors this year but you can see the brightest meteors around the constellation Gemini and or anywhere in the sky after midnight.

21, 22 – If you missed the Geminids, the Ursids Meteor Shower is a small one with five to 10 meteors per hour, produced by Comet Tuttle. Its peak will be on the night of the 21 and morning of the 22 and you can see it around constellation Ursa Minor and or anywhere in the sky after midnight in a dark location.

22 – This day is the shortest day of the year because it is December solstice and the first day of winter.

26 – The year closes with an annular solar eclipse, which is when there is a ring of light around the Moon because it is too far from the Earth to completely cover the Sun.

1 Comment

  • Reply Stephanie Kiang February 16, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    I really liked this story!

    Like

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