In 2021, stargazers around the world will see a number of noteworthy astronomical events take place, including a meteor shower, a total lunar eclipse, and more. Here are some of the stunning astronomical phenomena that are worth making a note of on your calendar this year.
Lyrid meteor shower: After the occurrence of the Quadrantids in January, the country will witness yet another meteor shower after nearly 4 months. The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of April 21, 2021, and will be visible till early the following day. About 15-20 meteors are likely to be visible every hour. Don’t forget to catch this stunning celestial event.
Jupiter-Mercury conjunction: Because it is small in size and located very close to the sun, stargazers have a tough time spotting Mercury in the night sky. But, that’s set to change – about 45 minutes before sunrise on March 5, 2021, Mercury and Jupiter, which is the largest planet in the solar system, will be engaged in close conjunction, separated by just about 0.35 degrees. Get your binoculars ready to catch this rare sighting of the two planets!
Total lunar eclipse: On May 26, the Earth, Moon, and the Sun will be in perfect alignment, resulting in a total lunar eclipse. Astronomers are of the opinion that this will be one of the most exciting celestial events to take place this year. The last total lunar eclipse that was visible in most U.S. states took place in January 2019. This year, most of North America is expected to be able to see at least a partial eclipse. The total eclipse will be visible from the Pacific Coast, the Rocky Mountains, and the High Plains. Parts of Asia and South America will also be able to catch the total lunar eclipse.
Fun fact: Total lunar eclipses are also sometimes referred to as “blood moons,” given that the moon appears red due to the Earth’s atmosphere.
Planetary Alignment of Venus-Saturn-Jupiter: On November 25, 2021, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter lining up after sunset. The planets will shine brighter than all the other stars in that part of the sky, so you may just get to watch the spectacle!