4 Amazing "Heavenly" Events Not To Be Missed In 2018
This year will be full of wonders that many sky-watchers will appreciate greatly. A beautiful and surprisingly bright comet and lunar eclipses are only some of the breathtaking astronomical phenomena 2018 will be offering to us. Make sure to circle these important dates on your calendar.
1. January 31: Super Blue Moon Eclipse
A total lunar eclipse is a must-see event for stargazing lovers. The moon will get gradually darker when Earth’s shadow will slowly cover it up as it moves between the sun and the moon. But that's not all! It will be not just a moon, but a supermoon, which means that it will be fully illuminated and appear larger and brighter. This scenic event will be visible throughout most of western North America, eastern Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Ocean.
2. June 27: Saturn at Opposition
Saturn will be very close to Earth and the sun will fully illuminate the planet’s face. It will look very bright, the brightest in the whole year, and will be visible all night long. If you like to photograph planets, it will be the best time to do so as Saturn and its moons will shine brightly in the sky. Those, who own a medium-sized telescope, will be able to see Saturn's rings and some of its brightest moons.
3. August 12-13: Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseids is one of the most beautiful meteor showers to see. At its peak, it can produce up to 60 shooting stars per hour. This year it will be particularly spectacular because its peak will happen in the dark, moonless sky. The Perseids is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, discovered in 1862. The best time to observe it will be on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. The meteor shower will be seen across the Northern Hemisphere.
4. December 12: Comet Encounter
It is predicted that comet 46P/ Wirtanen could be bright enough to be seen in December by the naked eye. If it does happen, it will be the brightest comet that was seen in more than 5 years. After traveling around the sun, it will make a very close approach to Earth and it should be seen very easily as it passes by the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters.
Stargazing is a wonderful way to end the year so make sure to get warm and comfortable while you enjoy the wonders of nature.