2010 Astronomical Sky Events
International Sidewalk Astronomy Night. Join amateur astronomers al over the world as they set up their telescopes in public places to share the night sky with everyone
The Summer Solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere at 11:28 UT. The Sun is at its highest point in the sky and it will be the longest day of the year. This is also the first day of summer.
Partial Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of eastern Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and the western Americas
Total Solar Eclipse. The path of totality will only be visible in the southern Pacific Ocean, Easter Island, and parts of southern Chile and Argentina. A partial eclipse will be visible in many parts of southern South America
Southern Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids can produce about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower usually peaks on July 28 & 29, but some meteors can also be seen from July 18 - August 18. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Aquarius. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight
Perseids Meteor Shower. The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at their peak. This year's shower should peak on the night of August 12 and the morning of the 13th, but you may be able to see some meteors any time from July 23 - August 22. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellationPerseus. The thin, crescent moon will be out of the way early, setting the stage for a potentially spectacular show. For best viewing, look to the northeast after midnight.
Triple Conjunction with the Moon. The planets Venus, Mars, and Saturn will all be close to the thin, crescent moon on this evening. Look to the west just after sunset.
Neptune at Opposition. The blue planet will be at its closest approach to Earth. This is the best time to view Neptune, although it will only appear as a tiny blue dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
Full Moon. This full moon will be the most distant and therefore the smallest of the year.
Jupiter at Opposition. The Solar System's largest planet will be at its closest approach to Earth. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. The giant planet will be a big and bright as it gets in the night sky. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter's cloud bands.
Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth. This is the best time to view Uranus, although it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
The Autumnal Equinox occurs in the northern hemisphere at 03:09 UT. There will be equal amounts of day and night. This is also the first day of fall.
Astronomy Day Part 2. Astronomy day is a grass roots movement to share the joys of astronomy with the general public. Two days this year have been designated as Astronomy Day. On these days astronomy and stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan special events. You can find out more about October's events by checking the Web sites for AstronomyDay.org and the Astronomical Leagu
Comet Hartley 2 will make its closest approach to Earth, coming within 11.2 million miles. For a few days around October 20, the comet should be bright enough to view with the naked eye in the early morning sky. You will, however, need to be far away from the glow of city lights. Look to the east just before sunrise. In early November, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will observe comet Hartley 2 from a distance of about 600 miles.
Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. This shower usually peaks on the 21st, but it is highly irregular. A good show could be experienced on any morning from October 20 - 24, and some meteors may be seen any time from October 17 - 25. Best viewing will be to the east after midnight.
Leonids Meteor Shower. The Leonids is one of the better meteor showers to observe, producing an average of 40 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower itself has a cyclic peak year every 33 years where hundreds of meteors can be seen each hour. The last of these occurred in 2001. The shower usually peaks on November 17 & 18, but you may see some meteors from November 13 - 20. Look for the shower radiating from the constellation Leo after midnight.
Geminids Meteor Shower. Considered by many to be the best meteor shower in the heavens, the Geminidsare known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak. The peak of the shower this year should occur on the night of December 13 and morning of the 14th, although some meteors should be visible from December 6 - 19. Some estimates say there could be as many as 120 meteors an hour visible from dark-sky locations. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Gemini. The Moon will set early in the evening setting the sky up for a spectacular show. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight.
Total Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of eastern Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, the Americas, and Europe. The eclipse will be visible after midnight in North and South America. Since the Moon will be almost directly overhead from these locations, this should be an excellent chance to view a rare total lunar eclipse.
(NASA Eclipse Information)
(NASA Eclipse Information)
The Winter Solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere at 23:38 UT. The Sun is at its lowest point in the sky and it will be the shortest day of the year. This is also the first day of winter.