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Astronomy forecast 2021: Meteor showers, new moons and a solar eclipse

Astronomy forecast 2021: Meteor showers, new moons and a solar eclipse

Astronomy forecast 2021: Meteor showers, new moons and a solar eclipse

Though 2021 already seems to be off to a dreary start with cold wintry weather and lots of dark rainy nights, there are lots of fantastic astronomical phenomena coming up throughout the rest of the year to get excited about.

2021's astronomy forecast

2021 is going to be a busy year, with meteor showers, new moons, and even a partial solar eclipse on the horizon!

The first new moon of 2021 is coming up soon

January 13 will mark the first new moon of 2021, and on January 28 you can enjoy the first full moon of the year! 

Sadly there won’t be much going on in February, but there will be a new moon on February 11. Plus, as 2021 isn’t a leap year, you get to enjoy to beautiful symmetry of the 28-day month as it starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday - so satisfying!

Spring forecast

March offers a little more excitement than the early months of 2021, with the Equinox on March 20. In April, not only will you be treated to the peak of the Lyrids Meteor Shower between April 22 and 23, but you’ll also get a super full moon on April 27. This happens when the moon and sun appear directly opposite each other, fully illuminating the surface of the moon - which mean it could look up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than your average full moon. 

In May there will be another meteor shower - the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower - which will be at its peak on May 6 to 7, but runs all the way from the end of April right through to May 28, as well as another super full moon on May 26! This is the closest the moon will get to earth all year, so you definitely won’t want to miss it! On top of this, if you happen to be outside of Germany on the same day, you’ll likely get to witness a total lunar eclipse. 

Summer 2021 will bring a solar eclipse

Summer 2021 has a lot in store for everyone, with a phenomenal partial solar eclipse for Europe and the US on June 10 (or a total eclipse in eastern Russia, the Arctic Ocean, Western Greenland and Canada). June is also, of course, the month of the Summer Solstice (June 21). 

Going into July, if you look to the sky just after sunset on July 13 you might be lucky enough to see the conjunction of Mars and Venus - the angle from Earth will mean that the two planets will appear as one. Between July 12 and August 13 you also have the chance of spying the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower, with the peak on July 28 to 29. 

August is another big month. From July 17 to August 24 you might be able to spot the Perseids Meteor Shower (with the peak on the night of August 12). 2021 is set to be a good year for this shower as a waxing crescent moon on August 12 will set in the early evening, guaranteeing dark skies - perfect for watching a meteor shower.

August 2 will offer a great opportunity to spot a fully-illuminated Saturn in the night sky, while August 19 will be a good night to see Jupiter, which will be brighter than any other time of year and will be visible all night long. In addition to all this astronomical goodness, August 22 will see a Blue Moon. 

Winter holds the best opportunity to catch a meteor shower

September and November will be similar to August, with September 14 offering a perfect opportunity to spot Neptune, while November 5 will give you a glimpse of Uranus. Make the most of this chance because, due to their size and distance from the Earth, you don’t get very many opportunities to see these two planets. 

October is bookended by two meteor showers: the Draconids Meteor Shower, which runs from October 6 to 10 with the peak on October 7; and the Orionids Meteor Shower, which runs from October 2 to November 7 with the peak on October 21. For the Draconids you probably won’t have to stay up too late (unusually, the best viewing time is actually in the early evening), while the full moon might make it a little tricky to spot the Orionids. 

Still looking for more meteor showers? Well, November doesn’t disappoint. On November 4 you’ll be treated to the peak of the Taurids Meteor Shower, and on November 17 you’ll get the peak of the Leonids Meteor Shower, which runs from November 6 through to November 30. 

Then, as 2021 rounds to a close and everyone decorates the Christmas tree, orders the turkey, and buys the gifts, you’ll be treated to one last astronomical gift: the Geminids Meteor Shower. Running from December 7 to 17, the shower’s peak is on December 13, where - if the German weather holds out - you could be treated to a whopping 120 multicoloured meteors per hour! 

Get ready to camp out under the stars!

Get ready to camp out under the stars and enjoy all the beautiful wonders our solar system has to offer - here's just hoping the sky stays clear enough for you to actually see it all happen! Telescopes and blankets at the ready everyone!

Victoria Séveno

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Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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