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2020 will be the year of Jupiter and Saturn, as they will be slowly approaching each other in the sky, culminating in a super rare Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020. This will also be a year of conjunctions in the sky, as Mars will join in the dance early in the year, and the Moon will return to Jupiter and Saturn several times throughout the year!

event scale
Quadrantids Meteor Shower – January 3,4

The Quadrantids are capable of producing as many meteors per hour as the famous Perseids and Geminids. Because the peak is narrow and only lasts for a few hours, you need to be in the right spot during peak hours to see such a show. The first quarter moon will set after midnight, just when the radiant starts to rise in the sky. If you want to take a chance on this years Quadrantids, you’ll get your best chances at a decent show during the pre-dawn hours before sunrise on January 4.

Three Planets And the Moon – February 17-20

In the early morning skies before dawn on the 17th, you will see our Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn all lined up, with the moon moving and appearing each morning next to a different planet on the 18th, 19th, and 20th. Of course, if you’re in California, you will definitely want to check out what happens on February 18! You will want to look southwest with an unobstructed view!

A separate page about this event will be published soon!

Mars Moon Occultation – February 18

If you’re in the right location at the right time, you can see Mars get eclipsed by the moon in the early morning sky! Viewers along the west coast, especially California can see this happen around 3:30 am local time, as you’ll see Mars disappear behind the moon, and the reemerge an hour later!

More Info and Livestream times will be added!

Planetary Dance  – March 17 – April 7

Once again, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon will put on a dazzling display in the early morning skies before sunrise. On March 18, the four objects will form an oddly shaped rhombus in the sky, and will be easily seen in southwestern sky. Around 5 am, you may even be able to spot Mercury low over the horizon before the sun ruses.

Between March 20-31, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will form a triangle, with it being the most even looking on the 25th.

As April rolls on, Mars will gradually move away from Jupiter and Saturn.

Mars Jupiter Conjunction – March 20

On this morning, Mars will be the closest to Jupiter in the sky. You will be able to see the two planets close together through a telescope! You will have your best views an hour or two before sunrise.

Mars Saturn Conjunction – March 31

As part of the bigger planetary dance, Mars will conjunct with Saturn on this morning. Just like before, you’ll be able to see the two planets in the same FOV through a telescope at low power.

Moon Jupiter and Saturn Triangle 1 – April 15

Once more, the moon will join Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars and make a formation in the sky. Check this out during the morning hours before sunrise in the southwest! Fortunately, this won’t be the last time this occurs for 2020

Lyrids Meteor Shower – April 22,23

While the Lyrids are an average shower, usually producing 10-20 meteors per hour, they often leave glowing trails that last for several seconds. On this particular night, there won’t be any moon interference, so it’s a good night to try and catch some meteors, as well as bring out the telescope and view some deep sky objects from a dark location.

Moon Jupiter and Saturn Triangle 2 – May 12

On this morning, between midnight and sunrise, you can see another triangle formation between Jupiter, Saturn, and our moon.

Moon Jupiter and Saturn Triangle 3 – July 5,6

Since all three objects will be near opposition throughout the entire night, you can see another triangle formation between the three objects.

Jupiter and Saturn Oppositions – July 14, July 20

Jupiter and Saturn will be close to one another in the sky, and continue approaching each other as the year progresses. Jupiter’s opposition is on the 14th, while Saturn’s opposition will be on the 20th. Around this time is where they will be at their biggest and brightest for the year, and it will be the best time to view the two planets individually through a telescope.

Moon Jupiter Saturn Triangle 4 – August 1,2

Since all three objects will be near opposition throughout the entire night, you can see another triangle formation between the three objects.

Perseids Meteor Shower – August 11-13

While the Perseids are reliable as a strong shower every year with anywhere between 60-150 during peak hours, this year there will be a last quarter moon in the sky during optimal hours, so many of the fainter meteors will get washed out. But if you want to take your chances, you’ll want to be viewing the skies above during the early morning hours before sunrise on the 12th or 13th.

Moon Jupiter Saturn Triangle 5 – August 28

You’ll once again see the three objects forming a close triangle in the sky.

Neptune Opposition – September 11

Neptune will be at its brightest and closest to earth for the year, this it will be the best time to try and spot it with a telescope. You cannot see it with the naked eye, and you need high magnification to even see the planet as a pale blue period.

Mars Opposition – October 13

While it won’t be as close as it was in 2018, Mars will have a good close approach during opposition, and be big enough through telescopes to be able to show surface features on the planet. You’ll see Mars as a bright red beacon in the sky throughout the night.

Moon Jupiter Saturn Triangle 6 – October 22

 You’ll once again see the three objects forming a close triangle in the sky.

Uranus Opposition – October 31

Uranus will be at its brightest and closest to earth for the year, this it will be the best time to try and spot it with a telescope. It will be hard to spot with the naked eye, and you need high magnification to even see the planet as a pale cyan colored period.

Leonids Meteor Shower – November 17,18

While it is predicted to be a below average shower, this years Leonids will not have a moon interfering for this shower. Optimal hours will be the couple hours before sunrise, and while you’ll get a chance to see a few meteors, it’s also a good night to look at some deep sky objects through a telescope under clear dark skies.

Geminids Meteor Shower – December 13,14

The year’s best meteor shower of 2020 will most likely be the Geminids. There will not be a moon interfering with the meteors, so you may see many meteors streaking through the sky during optimal hours. The usual hourly rate for the Geminids is 120 per hour at its peak. Dress warm, as the best times to view will be after midnight on December 14.

SUPER RARE Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter – December 21

The Grand Finale of 2020 is a super rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. As the year started, they were further apart, but on this day, they will get so close together that they will appear to merge as a double planet.

Such a conjunction is called a “Great Conjunction” and it does happen every 20 years or so. But what makes this even more rare is that they will be so close that even at high magnification, you will be able to see both planets through a telescope at the same time!

While there will be other Great Conjunctions in the future, they will not get this close again until 2080! You do not want to miss this event. You’ll be able to see the great conjunction in the southeastern sky for a short time after sunset before they set.

More info about this event will be published soon!

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