Every year, dazzling meteor showers and eclipses keep us and the social media excited. But that’s not all that can be visible to the human eye when looking at the Solar system. Here are the most spectacular astronomical events that can be seen in 2020, only if you would know when and where to look for them.
February 18: The moon passes in front of Mars
By late February, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will line up in the sky and could be viewed together with a pair of binoculars, telescope or even the naked eye.
Between 18 and 20 February, the Moon will pass close to all three planets making it easy for you to have a look at the Moon occult. In the western United States during the early morning hours of February 18, skywatchers can also see the moon pass over Mars.
April 27: Venus will shine the brightest in the sky
The ‘Evening Star’ is the brightest shining celestial object in the sky after the Sun and the moon. During April, Venus will rise in the west after sunset, no matter where you are in the world. At 9 p.m. Eastern Time on April 27, Venus will hit the maximum magnitude of its brightness for the entire year 2020, making it impossible to miss even for the naked eye.
June 21: Annular Solar Eclipse
Thanks to a remarkable coincidence, the moon and the Sun have just the right size and distance away to appear roughly the same size in the sky. An annular eclipse happens when the Moon is the farthest from the Sun and isn’t able to block it completely, leaving a ring of fire around the dark moon.
Since direct sunlight passes around the moon to reach the earth, this eclipse must be witnesses with eye protection.
You will be able to witness this beauty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, Pakistan, northern India, southern China and the island of Taiwan.
July 14: Jupiter at opposition
This will be the best time to view the biggest planet in the solar system. Jupiter will be on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and will be bright in the sky all night round.
With a pair of binoculars or a telescope, it will be easy to view Jupiter along with 4 of its largest moons and the atmospheric bands.
August 12: Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseids is one of the most popular meteor showers in the world. This year, the showers will peak in the predawn moments of August 12. You will also be able to trace the meteors, coming almost a meteor per minute, coming from the Perseus constellation.
Plan a night outside of the big cities and wait for a minimum of 20 minutes for your eyes to get adjusted to the darkness.
December 13: Geminid Meteor Shower
Originating from the constellation Gemini, the Geminid constellation is one of the best to view in 2020. Lined up perfectly with the New Moon, this could be the best day to plan a pre-Christmas party.
December 14: Total Solar Eclipse
This year, the southern end of South America will be viewing a complete solar eclipse, where the moon blocks the entire light from the Sun and the day temporarily turns to night, with the maximum time for this one being 2 minutes. The viewers will be able to see the Sun’s spectacular Corona as well.
Please read these safety tips on how to watch a solar eclipse.
Are you ready to witness nature’s very own display of magic?