The night sky is jam-packed with action this year, if you know where and when to look for it. Here are a few of the best and brightest phenomena.
A total lunar eclipse will occur on May 15-16.
Because of the moon’s passage into Earth’s shadow on the night of May 15 into May 16, the whole contiguous United States will be able to observe it turn red — provided that the weather cooperates.
Despite the fact that 97 percent of the moon was darkened during a partial lunar eclipse that occurred this past November, the eclipse fell just short of being labeled a complete eclipse by one sliver.
There was also a complete lunar eclipse in May of 2021, however it was only visible for a limited period of time in regions of the western United States.
The first supermoon of 2022 will rise on June 14th.
An unprecedented three supermoons are scheduled to appear in 2022, with the first bursting into view in the middle of June.
Full moons occur at perigee, which is the point in the moon’s orbit when it is closest to the Earth. Supermoons occur when there is a full moon near perigee. A full moon that is somewhat larger and brighter than previous full moons throughout the year is the consequence, however the difference may be difficult to see.
The supermoon in June will be followed by a second one on July 13 and a third one on August 12 in the same year.
On June 24, the planets line up in the proper sequence.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all visible with the naked eye, and they will all line up in the sky before dawn around the end of June, making for a spectacular sight.
On June 24, the uncommon alignment will emerge across the eastern sky shortly before dawn, marking the beginning of the summer solstice. As well as being in alignment with the planets, a crescent moon will be seen between Venus and Mars. Despite the fact that the planets will seem to be in a straight line in the sky, they will not be completely aligned in the solar system.
The Plummeting Perseids
Each year the Perseid meteor shower lights up the summer skies. Under clear unhazy skies you can see anywhere from half a hundred to a full hundred or more so-called shooting stars each hour. But there will be a waning moon during the shower this year in the middle of June, and this may compete with the light of the meteor shower.
Two months later in October another set of meandering meteorites appears in the night sky – the Orionids. Less spectacular than the Perseid fireworks, the Orionids stand a better chance of standing out later in the evening – because the moon will be setting early in late October.
September 26th is the day that Jupiter will be in opposition to the sun.
It’s a great time of year to get a glimpse of the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, as it approaches “opposition” in the night sky.
Astronomy term “opposition” refers to the fact that a planet seems to be in opposition to the sun from Earth’s perspective. As the planet nears its closest point in its orbit to Earth in 2022, it will seem brighter than at any other time of the year, making it an especially gratifying sight. The planet is a straightforward and enticing target for those who are just learning how to use a telescope and wish to practice.
The four largest moons of Jupiter, Europa, IO, Callisto, and Ganymede, Jupiter’s four largest moons can all be seen with only a telescope.
There will be a complete moon eclipse on November 8th.
On the other hand, the second and last full lunar eclipse of 2022, which will take place just before dawn on Nov. 8, will not be visible to everyone in North America. Because the moon sets just before the height of the eclipse, observers on the East Coast will not be able to witness the whole eclipse.
Weather permitting, the show will be broadcast throughout Canada and the United States except in Alaska and Hawaii.
The United States will not get the opportunity to view another eclipse like this again until the date of March 25, 2025.
According to experts, this year’s Northern Taurid meteor shower, which happens in mid-November and is usually a little shower that goes unnoticed, may be an unusual year to observe it.
As with the Geminids in December and the Perseids in July, the Northern Taurid meteor shower generates barely five meteors each hour on average.
A further layer of mystery will be added in 2022 with the appearance of the Northern Taurids. The meteor shower’s peak occurs on the night of Nov. 11 into the early morning hours of Nov. 12 and is known for creating incredibly light fireballs that may illuminate the whole sky for a few seconds.
These fireball outbursts seem to follow a seven-year cycle. In 2008 and 2015, there was a substantial rise in the number of fireballs.
This winter, Mars comes close!
They don’t attack, fortunately. On December 8th of this year Mars will be opposite of Sol as seen from planet Earth. Therefore, it will be visible all the night long and will twinkle more brightly than almost all other stars in the sky that night. If you’re in the United States, look for the bright red spark low along the Eastern horizon.