2021 will include one solar eclipse and two lunar eclipses visible from North America. While the solar eclipse will strictly be a North Eastern US and Canada event, the two Lunar Eclipses will be visible from most of North America.
Quadrandids Meteor Shower – January 3,4
While the Quadrantids can be a rich shower, you will have a waning gibbous moon washing out the fainter meteors. The peak only lasts for a few hours, so if you’re viewing outside the peak times, you won’t see much.
Venus Jupiter Conjunction – February 11
Venus and Jupiter will have a close conjunction, and both planets will be visible at the same time through a telescope. However, not only will this occur in close proximity to the Sun, you need to have an unobstructed view of the south eastern horizon just before sunrise to glimpse it with the naked eye.
Mercury Jupiter Conjunction – March 4
Mercury and Jupiter will meet, and both will be visible at the same time through a telescope at low power. You can catch this low in the south eastern sky before sunrise. You will also see Saturn close by further to the right, hence you can consider this a triple conjunction! Look southeast at 5:15 am.
Quadruple Formation – March 10
Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon will be in close proximity, and form an odd four sided shape! This will be visible early in the morning just after 5:15 am local time, and if you have an unobstructed view of the southeastern sky, you will be able to see all four objects. Mercury will be the same height as the Moon, so if you can see one, you can see the other.
Mars Moon Conjunction – May 15
Mars and the Moon will be really close together in the sky. You can see this in the west just after sunset – you’ll only have a couple hours before the two objects set. Starting around 3:45 UTC, the two objects will be close enough to view at the same time through a telescope at low power! The further west you are, the better your show will be, as Mars and Moon will be at their closest at 6:00 UTC, thus Alaska and Hawaii will have the best views.
Super Total Lunar Eclipse – May 26
A Lunar Eclipse will be well placed for the Pacific Ocean. While it will be visible from much of North America, it will be best viewed from those living along the West Coast where the entire eclipse will be visible. Those living along the East Coast will not even see a partial eclipse, while those in the mid western locations may either see a partial eclipse, or see a total eclipse happen when the Moon sets.
The “Super” comes from the fact that the Moon is going to be near its closest point to Earth, and when it occurs during a full moon, they are called “Super Moons.”
Annular Solar Eclipse – June 10
Early in the morning on June 10, an annular solar eclipse will occur over the Arctic! Even though most of North America will not be able to see this, there are some locations near the Great Lakes Region of the U.S.A. and Canada that will see it! Many locations close by will see the eclipsed sun as it rises! Since parts of the USA and Canada will experience the eclipse, this counts in O.B.A.’s policy to only promote events visible over North America.
Venus Mars Conjunction – July 12
Just after sunset, you will see Mars and Venus have a close conjunction in the sky! Both planets will be visible through a telescope at the same time! All you need is a view of the western sky!
Saturn Opposition – August 2
Saturn will be at its biggest and brightest for the year. This will be the best time to catch Saturn’s rings through a telescope!
Perseids Meteor Shower – August 12,13
This year’s Perseids should be a great show! You will not have a moon interfering during peak hours, so you may at times see 60-120 meteors per hour! Just get to a dark location away from the cities, get your pillows ready, and look up!
Mars Mercury Conjunction – August 18
Mercury and Mars will be SUPER close. The only downside is they will be in close proximity to the Sun. To glimpse it, you need to be looking low in the western horizon just after sunset. If you can get it through a telescope, these two planets will be so closely aligned that they can both be viewed in your telescope at high magnification!
Jupiter Opposition – August 19
Jupiter will be at its biggest and brightest for the year, which will be the best time to catch Jupiter and its moons through a telescope!
Neptune Opposition – September 14
Neptune will reach its closest to Earth for the year, making it the brightest possible for the year. You will still need a telescope to find Neptune, and it needs high magnification to resolve it into a tiny blue disc.
Draconids Meteor Shower – October 7
While there is no storm predicted for this years Draconids, they won’t be hindered by the Moon. Their rate may not be as rich as the Perseids, but it’s still a good excuse to go outside and look up! The radial point will be from the constellation Draco, but the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky. The peak hours are also not as late as other meteor showers, so you can watch this shower before midnight and still get a decent showing.
Taurids Meteor Shower – November 4,5
This lesser known shower will again not be predicted to be rich. However, there’s no moon interference, thus a time to go outside and look up! The radial point will be from the constellation Taurus but the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky.
Uranus Opposition – November 5
Uranus will be at its closest, and just be above naked eye visibility. However, you still need a telescope to resolve it into a tiny pale cyan disc. But hey, at least you can say you saw Uranus, right?
Partial Lunar Eclipse – November 19
While this eclipse officially is a partial eclipse because the moon doesn’t completely cross into the Earth’s shadow, in actuality the moon will go over 95% within earth’s shadow, so during mid eclipse for a brief period of time, it will appear total! All of North America will be on the night side of Earth, thus will be well placed for this eclipse.
Geminids Meteor Shower – December 13,14
While the Geminids can be richer than the Perseids, this year the shower will have a lot of moon interference. However, because it’s a rich shower, you may still get a decent show.
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