This upcoming year is filled with beautiful sky events. These are some no one will want to miss, so mark them on every calendar!
1. Comet 45P/HMP – February 11th
This comet has been headed our way for quite a while. The icy formation sling shot around the sun in December of 2016 and is planned to be visible to the naked eye on February 11. While the appearance won’t be met with a crash site, the closest point it will reach will only be about 7.7 miles from the earth’s surface.
2. Annular Eclipse – February 26th
This eclipse happens when the moon’s shape is too small to cover the expanse of the sun, so a ring of light, also known as the “ring of fire”, is left around the moon. Unfortunately, the Northern Hemisphere will not be able to experience it fully, we will only be able to see a partial. The path of the eclipse begins over the South Pacific Ocean, travels to South America, and finally stops in Africa for its final dazzling performance..
3. Mercury, Mars, Moon – March 29th
Mercury is always difficult to spot in the night sky because the glare of the sun. However, in March, it will be the closest to earth and farthest away from the sun, making it much easier to spectate. Just past sunset on March 29th, Mercury will be accompany the Moon and Mars to create a neat triangle in the western sky.Mars will be at the top of the shape, with the Moon on the left and Mercury to the right, slightly below the Moon.
4. Moon Meets Jupiter – April 10th
Even though Spica (the main star leading the Virgo constellation) and Jupiter are connected all 2017, the gas giant will also pair with the full moon. On April 10th, look to the east just after sunset for a beautiful ascension of both the moon and the biggest planet in our solar system. “And if you think that Jupiter looks even brighter than normal during this event, that’s because it will have reached opposition just three weeks before, when the planet is the biggest and brightest in our skies for all of 2017,” National Geographic states in their article.
5. Total Solar Eclipse – August 21st
Attention! North Americans are very excited to see “the most amazing celestial disappearing act seen there since 1979″(National Geographic). This event will occur from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast in the United Sates. The darkness during the day will only last for a few minutes and it will travel narrowly from Oregon to South Carolina, so other states and cities will only experience a partial eclipse. The next total eclipse is scheduled for 2024, so take advantage while you can!
6. Venus Joins Jupiter – November 13th
Get your sunglasses and binoculars out for a bright experience in the eastern skies at dawn of November 13th. Planets Jupiter and Venus will appear very close in our skies with only the width of a half lit moon between them. The morning twilight will have some competition due to how low the bright planets will be.
7. Geminid Meteors – December 13th
Geminids is a meteor shower said to have started at the Palladian asteroid (a part of a family of Palladian asteroids found in the intermediate asteroid belt), originating from the Gemini constellation(one of the 88 modern cluster of stars and part of the zodiac). This would make the only meteor shower not created from a comet. They are known to have rates of 60-120 shooting stars an hour during its peak. Those in North and South America will be able to see this spectacular event from 11pm the 13th to the early hours of the 14th.