Upcoming Celestial Events
Since we all still have to social distance, there isn’t a lot that we can do on campus. I mean sure, there are games over Zoom and watching movies, but sometimes you just have to get outside. And luckily for us, the night sky provides plenty of entertainment for us naturally. While I’m not recommending anyone gather, even with social distancing, because of the yellow alert level on campus, I still think the night sky is a good thing to look at and share the experience with friends over FaceTime or some similar setup from different spots on campus. Not all of these may be able to be seen from campus, so definitely check up on any events that you want to see to see if they’ll be visible from campus, or wherever they may be.
This is a list of celestial phenomena that are going to be taking place from today till the end of the semester, according to Sea and Sky’s Astronomy Reference Guide. The only events that have not been listed here were the regular full moons and the spring equinox.
- March 6: This is the best date to view Mercury as it’s in the best position of the eastern sky. Check for it low in the eastern sky before just sunrise.
- March 13: There is going to be a new moon and therefore it’s a good night to look at the stars in general.
- April 12: Another new moon, also a good chance to see the stars in general
- April 22-23: This is when there is peak activity for the Lyrids meteor shower. Because this shower happens when the moon is near full, it may be hard to actually see all of the shower. The meteors will be coming from the Lyra constellation, but could actually appear anywhere in the night sky after midnight.
- April 27: There is going to be a super moon! This moon is the first supermoon of the year (of which there are going to be three.) This moon is known as the Pink Moon by some indigenous populations because it historically marked the appearance of a flower called wild ground phlox in the spring.
- May 6-7: This is the peak of activity for the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. This shower in particular is created by dust particles left behind by Halley’s Comet. The meteors will radiate from where Aquarius is in the sky, but could actually show up anywhere in the sky if you look from a dark location after midnight.
- May 11: Another new moon! Yet again another good time to look at the stars in the sky because there won’t be much interference from the moonlight.
- May 17: This is the best date to view Mercury in the western sky. Check for it low in the western sky right after sunset.
- May 26: This is the second super moon of the year! This moon was known by some indigenous populations as the Flower Moon because this is the time of year when spring flowers are the most abundant.
- May 26: There is going to be a full lunar eclipse! This will not be visible from campus, but if you are in any land throughout the Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, Japan, Australia, or western North America, you will be able to see it.