Based on the carefully drawn up 2019 ASTRONOMY CALENDAR, HAS wishes to select the 9 most typical astronomical events, not to be missed. These are meteor showers, planetary conjunctions, oppositions, and especially partial lunar eclipses and partial solar eclipses.
I wish you an “exceptional” year of sky observation!
1. Quadrantid meteor shower – January 3 and 4
The Quadrantids are an above-average meteor shower, with frequencies up to 40 per hour at most. This meteor shower would come from dust left by comet 2003 EH1, discovered in 2003, but which no longer exists today. Quadrantid meteors typically appear each year from January 1st to January 5th. This year, the peak falls on the night of the 3rd and in the morning of the 4th.
Quadrantid meteor shower. Author: Justin Ng
The thin crescent moon will not interfere with observations. The best time to view this meteor shower is after midnight, in a dark, clear location. Meteors tend to appear in the constellation Bouvier, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
2. Super Full Moon – January 21
January’s full moon will be the first of three supermoons in 2019. Then, the full moons on February 19 and May 19 are also supermoons. During supermoons, the Moon will move closer to Earth, appearing a little larger and brighter than normal.
Supermoon at the Baikonur space launch site, 2016. Author: Grigoriy Sisoev/RIA Novosti
3. Jupiter in opposition – June 10
This giant planet will come closest to Earth and its surface will be entirely illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of year and will be visible all night. This is the best time to observe and photograph Jupiter and its satellites. A medium-sized telescope can help you see some details of Jupiter’s cloud bands. A good pair of binoculars allows you to observe Jupiter’s four largest moons, which appear as bright spots on either side of the planet.
Jupiter and four Galilean satellites photographed through a telescope. Source: scienceblogs.com
4. Saturn in opposition – July 9
Saturn will come closest to Earth and its surface will be entirely illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of year and will be visible all night. This is the best time to observe and photograph Saturn and its satellites. A medium-sized or larger telescope lets you see Saturn’s rings and some of its brighter moons.
Saturn through a telescope. Source: JWAstronomy
5. Partial lunar eclipse – July 17
A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon enters the Earth’s penumbra and only part of it passes through the shadow. In this type of lunar eclipse, part of the Moon becomes dark as it passes through Earth’s shadow. This lunar eclipse will be visible throughout Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the Indian Ocean. In Vietnam, part of this phenomenon can be observed. You will see the Moon obscured in one corner.
6. Perseid meteor shower – August 12 and 13
The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most spectacular meteor showers, with a frequency of up to 60 per hour at its peak. The Perseids come from the dust of comet Swift-Tuttle, discovered in 1862. The Perseid meteor shower is famous for producing large numbers of bright meteors. The Perseids take place every year from July 17 to August 24.
Perseid meteor shower over Mount Shasta, USA. Author: Brad Goldpaint
This year’s peak occurs on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. The nearly full moon will block out many faint meteors, but the Perseids are numerous and bright, so this promises to still be an exciting meteor shower. The best viewing location is in a dark area, after midnight. Meteors tend to appear in the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
7. Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter – November 24
These two bright planets will be 1.4 degrees apart in the evening sky. You can see this impressive spectacle in the western sky just after sunset.
Before that, on January 22, Venus and Jupiter also had a conjunction. These two planets shine together just 2.4 degrees apart in the early morning sky. You can admire this interesting spectacle in the east just before sunrise.
Jupiter (top) and Venus during a conjunction in June 2015. Author: Wang, Letian
8. Geminid meteor shower – December 13 and 14
The Geminids are the kings of the year’s meteor showers. Many people consider it the best meteor shower because it has a frequency of up to 120 meteors per hour at its peak. These meteors come from dust left behind by the 3200 Phaethon meteorite, discovered in 1982. The Geminids meteor shower appears from December 7 to 17 each year.
This year’s maximum falls on the night of December 13 and early morning of December 14.
Geminid meteor shower over Heilongjiang province, China, December 2017. Author: Jeff Dai
Although this year’s near-full moon will unfortunately block many meteors, because the Geminid meteor shower is so bright and numerous, it still promises to be a great spectacle. The best viewing time is after midnight, from a dark, airy location. Meteors tend to appear from the constellation Gemini, but can appear from anywhere in the sky.
9. Partial solar eclipse – December 26
Partial solar eclipse in Texas, USA, 2012. Authors: Jimmy Westlake and Linda Westlake
The most anticipated phenomenon of the year is undoubtedly this solar eclipse. It is originally an annular eclipse, but in Vietnam only partial phases can be observed.
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is too far from Earth to completely cover the Sun. As a result, a ring of light appears surrounding the Moon’s shadow. This solar eclipse starts from Saudi Arabia, then moves eastwards through northern India, southern Sri Lanka, some places in the Indian Ocean, Indonesia and ends in the Pacific Ocean. The partial phase can be seen across most of Asia and northern Australia.
Detailed information on important events will be published by HAS on the association’s website and fanpage before the event. We invite you to read!
See the detailed ephemeris calendar for 2019 on ELEMENTARY CALENDAR 2019
HANOI ASTRONOMIC ASSOCIATION (HAS)