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Don't miss the 5 astronomical events that came in 2019



By Brian Lada, Meteorologist and AccuWeather staff
December 27, 2018, 2:56 p.m. EST

The new year will bring some famous astronomical events that will be seen for many people throughout the United States, including rare space alignments that will not happen again until the 2030s.

Besides these big events, 2019 will also feature three supermoon, blue moon, double meteor showers and dozens of rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Here are five astronomical events in 2019 that will be marked on your calendar:

January 20-21: A super-blood lunar eclipse blushes in the United States

The most viewed astronomical event this year will take place in mid-January when the moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse.

This will be the only total lunar eclipse this year and will be seen in the sky throughout North and South America, as well as parts of Europe and Africa, on the night of January 20 to early morning January 21.

When the moon passes through the shadows of the Earth, the moon will gradually change the orange color to red, resulting in the nickname "blood moon."

Blood lunar eclipse

Rare sky events as & # 39; Super Blue Blood Moon & # 39; seen on Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica, California, Wednesday, January 31, 2018. (AP Photo / Ringo H.W. Chiu)

All eclipses, including partial phases, will take place between 9:36 a.m. EST and 2:48 EST. However, the total phase when the moon will appear red will only last a little more than one hour, between 11:41. EST and 12:43 EST.

This will be the last total lunar eclipse seen anywhere in the world until May 26, 2021.

May 6-7: Halley Comet to trigger the Eta Aquarids meteor shower

One of the best meteor showers in 2019 will peak this spring when Eta Aquarids fascinates audiences around the world.

"Every spring when the Earth passes through the debris trail of Halley Comet (1P / Halley), cosmic bits burn in our atmosphere and produce an annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower," NASA said.

This meteor shower supports the Southern Hemisphere up to 60 meteors per hour, but those in the Northern Hemisphere can still see up to 30 meteors per hour at its peak.


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While other meteor showers, such as the December Geminid, carry more meteors per hour, Eta Aquarids will be one of the few rains this year that fall on the new moon.

Meteor showers are best seen in the new moon because of low natural light pollution. This makes it easier to see dim meteors that cannot be seen during a bright full moon.

"The Eta Aquarid meteor is known for its speed. This meteor is fast – moving at a speed of around 148,000 mph (66 km / dt) into the Earth's atmosphere. Meteors can quickly leave a glowing "train" (fragments of debris behind a meteor) that lasts for a few seconds to minutes, "NASA said.

July 2: Total solar eclipse skimming the sky in South America

The first total solar eclipse since the Great American Eclipse 2017 will take place this July, causing daylight to turn into a night in all parts of South America.

Most eclipses will occur over the empty waters of the Pacific Ocean; However, it will be seen in a piece of Chile and Argentina.

In this small area, called the totality path, the moon will completely block the sun. The rest of South America can expect a partial solar eclipse.

total solar eclipse

The total solar eclipse blocks the sun in Tennessee on August 21, 2017. (AccuWeather Photo / Brian Lada)

The next total solar eclipse will not occur until December 14, 2020, but will also be seen in parts of Chile and Argentina.

August 12-13: People who impress summer lovers

Every year, astronauts mark Perseid meteor showers on their calendars, which peak this year on the night of August 12 until the early hours of August 13.

"Perseid meteor shower is often regarded as one of the best meteor showers of the year because of its high and pleasant summer temperatures," NASA said.

This year will not be the best show for the Perseids because it falls right before the full moon; However, meteors associated with Perseids are usually brighter than meteors from other meteor showers. This means that even with almost full moonlight, viewers must still be able to see many shooting stars.

"You don't need special equipment to see the Perseids – it's enough for your eyes (note that telescopes or binoculars are not recommended)," NASA said.

November 11: Mercury traces across the face of the Sun.

Rare planet alignment will occur on November 11 and will be seen in most parts of the world, but only for those who have the right equipment.

Mercury is usually a planet that is hard to find in the sky because of its proximity to the sun, but in November, it will pass directly between the Earth and the Sun, appearing as a small black dot on the surface of the Sun.

This event, known as transit, does not occur often. Recently, Mercury transit occurred on May 9, 2016, and it will not happen again until November 13, 2032.

transit of mercury

The combined image of observations by NASA and ESA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory shows Mercury's pathway during transit in November 2006. (Solar and Heliosphere Observatories / NASA / ESA via AP)

It is very important that people use the sun filter to see the Sun to see this transit, because seeing the Sun without proper protection can cause permanent eye damage.

People with the remaining glass of solar filters from Great American Eclipse in 2017 can use them to see these rare events, but only if they haven't been damaged.

"If the filter is not scratched, punctured or torn, you can use it again indefinitely. A few glasses / viewers are printed with a warning stating that you should not see it more than 3 minutes each time and you must throw it away if it has been more than three years. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers who meet the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015, "NASA said.

Anyone who does not have sun filter glasses can order them online from a list of leading vendors and must order them weeks or months in advance, because they may be difficult to buy when the event approaches.


2018 is a record-breaking year for extreme weather and storm events. Extreme Meteorology and Chase Storm Reed Timmer talked to us about his 5 best chases this year. He discussed some of his most dangerous experiences, how it felt to be outside, and moments he would never forget!


Questions or comments? Email Brian Lada at Brian.Lada@accuweather.com and make sure to follow him on Twitter!

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