Local Savannah sky watchers may have gotten a little spoiled over the past year or two and 2021 will be just as good with supermoons, meteor showers, eclipses and even a planet alignment all coming up throughout the year.
Stargazers, get your telescopes ready because there are quite a few events to check out this year.
Starting in March, you will be able to see a Jupiter-Mercury conjunction. Just before daybreak over the eastern horizon on March 5th, you should be able to spot the two planets.
Jupiter is always pretty bright but Mercury is a little harder to see because it’s the closest planet to the sun and you are always fighting the visibility with the sun.
A conjunction occurs when two astronomical objects appear to be near each other as observed from Earth.
Supermoons are moons that become full when their orbits are closer than average to the Earth, making them appear to be slightly bigger and as much as 30% brighter than ordinary full moons.
Although the precise definition varies in the astronomy world, most say a supermoon is a moon that tracks less than 223,000 miles from the Earth during its full phase.
Regardless of the exact definition, 2021 will feature at least three supermoons; one each in April, May and June.
Also, the blue moon for 2021 will happen in August.
When the blue moon occurs, Jupiter and Saturn will also be at their closest point to Earth, and as a bonus, you will be able to see the two planets through the end of the year.
When fall rolls around, the night sky will start to get a little crowded.
Once we near Thanksgiving, Venus will be visible in the night sky and it’ll be a real treat when we are able to see three planets shining bright above Beaufort SC through early December.
Meteor showers and eclipses, oh my!
There will be several meteor showers and eclipses to enjoy in 2021.
In addition to the Quadrantids meteor shower, which peaked the first week of January, the most visible in the Savannah sky this year will be the Lyrids, in April; the Eta Aquariids in May; the Southern Delta Aquariids in July; the Perseids in August; the Orionids in October; the Leonids in November and the ever popular Geminids in December.
If that wasn’t enough for you yet, according the Old Farmer’s Almanac, there will be two lunar eclipses, one total and one partial, and two solar eclipses, one total and one annular.
The eclipses will occur between May and December.
Keep your eye on the skies, Savannah. 2021 promises to be an exciting year in the heavens above.