Astronomical Events 2024

Check out the dates and times for astronomical events like equinoxes, solstices, meteor showers, eclipses, supermoons, and more.

Astronomical Events January 2024

Jan 3: Earth’s Perihelion

Earth reaches perihelion, its closest point to the Sun in its orbit, around January 3 each year. This is because Earth’s orbit around the Sun is not a perfect circle, but rather an ellipse, with the Sun slightly off-center. Therefore, there is a point in Earth’s orbit where it is closest to the Sun, known as perihelion, and a point where it is farthest from the Sun, known as aphelion.

Jan 3/4: Quadrantids Meteors

Yes, the Quadrantids meteor shower typically peaks around January 3-4 each year. This meteor shower is known for its brief but intense peak, with the possibility of producing up to 100 meteors per hour under optimal conditions. The Quadrantids are named after the obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis, from which the meteors appear to radiate. It’s always a notable event for skywatchers and astronomy enthusiasts.

Jan 11: New Moon

The New Moon occurs around January 11th. During this phase, the Moon is not visible from Earth because it is located between the Earth and the Sun, with the side of the Moon that is illuminated by the Sun facing away from Earth. New Moon marks the beginning of the lunar cycle, and it is often associated with darker skies, making it an ideal time for stargazing and observing faint celestial objects such as galaxies and nebulae.

Jan 12: Mercury at Greatest Elongation West

Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west of the Sun around January 12th. Greatest elongation occurs when Mercury’s position in its orbit around the Sun places it at its maximum angular separation from the Sun as observed from Earth. This makes it an excellent time to observe Mercury, as it will be visible in the evening sky shortly after sunset, appearing as a bright point of light near the horizon.

Jan 25: Wolf Moon

The “Wolf Moon” is a traditional name for the full moon that occurs in January. It’s one of the many names given to full moons throughout the year by various cultures and traditions. The name “Wolf Moon” originates from Native American folklore, where it was believed that wolves howled more often during the cold winter nights of January. The January full moon is thus called the Wolf Moon because of this association with the howling of wolves during winter. So, indeed, the Wolf Moon typically occurs around January 25th.

Astronomical Events February 2024

Feb 9: Super New Moon

A “Super New Moon” is not a widely recognized astronomical term, as the concept of a “supermoon” typically applies to full moons rather than new moons.

A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit, known as perigee, resulting in the moon appearing slightly larger and brighter than usual in the sky. However, since a new moon occurs when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun, a supermoon cannot occur at this phase because the moon is not visible from Earth.

Therefore, while the term “Super New Moon” is not commonly used, if you’re referring to a particularly close or large new moon, it would simply be called a new moon.

Feb 24: Snow Micromoon

On February 24th, skywatchers can anticipate the phenomenon known as a “Snow Micromoon,” characterized by the full moon’s subtle luminance against the winter landscape. This term, “micromoon,” refers to a full moon occurring when the moon is at or near its apogee, the farthest point from Earth in its orbit.

Astronomical Events March 2024

Mar 10: Super New Moon

March 10th heralds the arrival of a “Super New Moon,” where the moon is situated closest to Earth during its new phase, enhancing its gravitational influence on ocean tides.

Mar 20: March Equinox

March 20th marks the vernal equinox, or “March Equinox,” signifying the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, when day and night are approximately equal in duration.

Mar 22: Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks

Astronomical enthusiasts should mark their calendars for March 22nd, when Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, a periodic comet, graces the night sky with its passage through the celestial realm.

Mar 24: Mercury at Greatest Elongation East

March 24th sees Mercury reaching its greatest elongation east of the Sun, offering an optimal opportunity for observation.

Mar 24/25: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Additionally, a penumbral lunar eclipse occurs on March 24th-25th, though its subtle shading might be challenging to discern without careful observation.

Mar 25: Worm Micromoon

Moving into April, the “Worm Micromoon” on March 25th manifests another instance of the full moon coinciding with apogee, offering a mesmerizing display against the night’s canvas.

Astronomical Events April 2024

Apr 1: Global Astronomy Month

April 1st marks the commencement of “Global Astronomy Month,” celebrating the wonder and exploration of the cosmos.

Apr 8: Total Solar Eclipse

Astronomers and sky gazers eagerly await April 8th, when a total solar eclipse plunges parts of the world into momentary darkness, captivating onlookers with its awe-inspiring spectacle.

Apr 8: Super New Moon

April 8th presents a Super New Moon, where the Moon is closest to Earth during its new phase. This astronomical event enhances gravitational forces, leading to higher tides but is often not visible due to its alignment with the Sun, creating a darkened sky.

Apr 21/22: Lyrid Meteor Shower

The Lyrid Meteor Shower, occurring on April 21st and 22nd, originates from debris left by Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. Known for its fast and bright meteors, it typically produces around 15 to 20 meteors per hour at its peak, making it a captivating celestial event for observers worldwide.

Apr 23: Pink Moon

April 23rd marks the Pink Moon, named after the pink wildflowers, not the color of the Moon itself. Also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon or Egg Moon, it symbolizes the arrival of spring and new beginnings, presenting a charming sight in the night sky.

Astronomical Events May 2024

May 4/5: Earthshine Mornings

During May 4th and 5th, Earthshine Mornings grace the predawn sky, illuminating the darkness with a gentle glow. This phenomenon occurs when sunlight reflects off Earth’s surface onto the Moon’s darkened portion, creating a faint but enchanting radiance visible to keen observers before sunrise.

May 5/6: Eta Aquarid Meteors

The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, peaking on May 5th and 6th, originates from the debris of Halley’s Comet. Known for its fast and bright meteors, this shower offers a dazzling display as Earth passes through the comet’s remnants, with the potential to observe up to 60 meteors per hour under ideal conditions.

May 8: New Moon

May 8th welcomes the New Moon, marking the beginning of a new lunar cycle. During this phase, the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, rendering it invisible from Earth. This provides an ideal opportunity for stargazing and observing faint celestial objects due to the absence of moonlight.

May 9: Mercury at Greatest Elongation West

On May 9th, Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west of the Sun, appearing at its maximum separation angle from the Sun as observed from Earth. This celestial event offers an excellent opportunity for observers to spot Mercury in the western sky just after sunset.

May 11/12: Earthshine Nights

May 11th and 12th feature Earthshine Nights, where the Moon’s darkened portion is faintly illuminated by sunlight reflected off Earth’s surface. This ethereal phenomenon creates a serene and captivating sight in the night sky, enhancing the moonlit landscape with a delicate glow.

May 23: Flower Moon

May 23rd showcases the Flower Moon, named after the blooming flowers that adorn the landscape during this time of year. Also known as the Corn Planting Moon or Milk Moon, it symbolizes the abundance of spring and the renewal of life, offering a picturesque scene in the night sky.

Astronomical Events June 2024

Jun 6: New Moon

June 6th marks the New Moon, a phase where the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, rendering it invisible from Earth. This phase provides optimal conditions for stargazing and observing faint celestial objects due to the absence of moonlight, making it an ideal time for astronomical pursuits.

Jun 20: June Solstice

June 20th heralds the June Solstice, marking the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. This astronomical event occurs when the Sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky, resulting in the longest or shortest day of the year, depending on the hemisphere.

Jun 22: Strawberry Moon

On June 22nd, the Strawberry Moon graces the night sky, named after the ripening strawberries harvested during this time of year. Also known as the Rose Moon or Hot Moon, it symbolizes the onset of summer and the abundance of nature, offering a delightful sight for skywatchers.

Astronomical Events July 2024

Jul 5: Earth’s Aphelion

July 5th marks Earth’s Aphelion, the point in its orbit where it is farthest from the Sun. Despite its position, this event has minimal noticeable effects on Earth’s climate or seasons due to the planet’s axial tilt, which primarily governs the changing seasons.

Jul 5: New Moon

July 5th welcomes the New Moon, marking the beginning of a new lunar cycle. This phase provides an excellent opportunity for stargazing and observing faint celestial objects due to the absence of moonlight, offering optimal conditions for astronomical pursuits.

Jul 21: Buck Moon

The Buck Moon graces the night sky on July 21st, named after the new antlers that emerge on male deer during this time of year. Also known as the Thunder Moon or Hay Moon, it symbolizes the peak of summer and the vitality of nature, presenting a captivating sight for observers.

Jul 22: Mercury at Greatest Elongation East

On July 22nd, Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the Sun, appearing at its maximum separation angle from the Sun as observed from Earth. This celestial event offers an excellent opportunity for observers to spot Mercury in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

Astronomical Events August 2024

Aug 4: New Moon

August 4th marks the New Moon, a phase where the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, rendering it invisible from Earth. This phase provides optimal conditions for stargazing and observing faint celestial objects due to the absence of moonlight, making it an ideal time for astronomical pursuits.

Aug 12/13: Perseid Meteors

The Perseid Meteor Shower, peaking on August 12th and 13th, is one of the most anticipated annual meteor showers. Originating from the debris of Comet Swift-Tuttle, it offers a dazzling display of fast and bright meteors, with the potential to observe up to 100 meteors per hour under ideal viewing conditions.

Aug 14: Conjunction of Mars and Jupiter

August 14th features a celestial spectacle as Mars and Jupiter conjoin in the night sky, appearing in close proximity to each other as observed from Earth. This rare alignment offers a mesmerizing sight for skywatchers, highlighting the beauty and wonder of the cosmos.

Aug 19: Blue Sturgeon Moon

The Blue Sturgeon Moon graces the night sky on August 19th, named after the blue hue of the sturgeon fish caught in North American waters during this time of year. Also known as the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon, it symbolizes the abundance of late summer and the harvest season, offering a picturesque scene for observers.

Aug 21: Lunar Occultation of Saturn

On August 21st, a rare lunar occultation occurs as the Moon passes in front of Saturn, temporarily obscuring the planet from view as observed from Earth. This captivating celestial event offers a unique opportunity for observers to witness the Moon’s motion relative to distant celestial objects in the night sky.

Aug 28: Comet Tsuchinshan-ATLAS

August 28th presents the appearance of Comet Tsuchinshan-ATLAS in the night sky, offering a captivating sight for astronomers and skywatchers alike. This celestial visitor, originating from the outer reaches of the solar system, showcases its glowing nucleus and trailing tail as it journeys through the cosmos, providing a rare opportunity to witness the beauty and wonder of a comet’s passage.

Astronomical Events September 2024

Sep 3: New Moon

September 3rd marks the New Moon, a phase where the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, rendering it invisible from Earth. This phase provides optimal conditions for stargazing and observing faint celestial objects due to the absence of moonlight, offering astronomers and skywatchers a pristine view of the cosmos.

Sep 5: Mercury at Greatest Elongation West

On September 5th, Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west of the Sun, appearing at its maximum separation angle from the Sun as observed from Earth. This celestial event offers an excellent opportunity for observers to spot Mercury in the western sky just after sunset, showcasing its brilliant presence as the “Evening Star.”

Sep 8: Saturn at Opposition

September 8th marks Saturn at opposition, when the ringed planet aligns opposite the Sun as observed from Earth. This celestial event places Saturn at its closest approach to Earth, offering skywatchers an optimal opportunity to observe and photograph the gas giant, its iconic rings, and its fascinating moons through telescopes or binoculars.

Sep 17/18: Partial Lunar Eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse graces the night sky on September 17th-18th, offering a breathtaking celestial display as Earth’s shadow partially obscures the Moon. Observers in certain regions will witness a subtle darkening of the lunar surface, creating a captivating spectacle that highlights the beauty and majesty of celestial mechanics.

Sep 18: Super Harvest Moon

The Super Harvest Moon on September 18th illuminates the night sky with its brilliant glow, coinciding with the autumnal equinox. This celestial event occurs when the full moon coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to Earth in its orbit, resulting in a larger and brighter appearance in the sky, offering a spectacular sight for skywatchers and photographers alike.

Sep 22: September Equinox

September 22nd marks the September Equinox, heralding the arrival of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere. During this astronomical event, day and night are approximately equal in duration, marking the transition between the seasons and offering a celestial reminder of the Earth’s axial tilt and orbital motion.

Astronomical Events October 2024

Oct 2: Annular Solar Eclipse

October 2nd presents an annular solar eclipse, where the Moon partially blocks the Sun’s disk, leaving a ring of sunlight visible around the edges. This captivating celestial event offers observers in certain regions a rare opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of the “ring of fire” eclipse phenomenon, providing a stunning visual spectacle in the daytime sky.

Oct 2: Micro New Moon

October 2nd welcomes the Micro New Moon, a phase where the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, rendering it invisible from Earth. This phase, occurring near apogee, the farthest point from Earth in its orbit, results in a smaller and dimmer appearance in the sky, offering a subtle but enchanting sight for skywatchers.

Oct 8/9: Draconid Meteor Shower

The Draconid Meteor Shower, peaking on October 8th-9th, originates from the debris left by Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Known for its occasional outbursts of activity, this meteor shower offers observers a chance to witness a flurry of meteors streaking across the night sky, emanating from the constellation Draco, the Dragon.

Oct 17: Super Hunter’s Moon

The Super Hunter’s Moon on October 17th illuminates the night sky with its brilliant glow, coinciding with the lunar perigee. This celestial event occurs when the full moon coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to Earth in its orbit, resulting in a larger and brighter appearance in the sky, offering a spectacular sight for skywatchers and photographers alike.

Oct 20/21: Orionid Meteor Shower

The Orionid Meteor Shower, peaking on October 20th-21st, originates from the debris left by Halley’s Comet. Known for its fast and bright meteors, this meteor shower offers observers a chance to witness up to 20 meteors per hour streaking across the night sky, emanating from the constellation Orion, the Hunter.

Astronomical Events November 2024

Nov 1: New Moon

November 1st marks the New Moon, a phase where the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, rendering it invisible from Earth. This phase provides optimal conditions for stargazing and observing faint celestial objects due to the absence of moonlight, offering astronomers and skywatchers a pristine view of the cosmos.

Nov 15: Full Moon / Beaver Moon

The Full Beaver Moon on November 15th graces the night sky with its brilliant glow, marking the arrival of the beaver trapping season. Also known as the Frosty Moon or Oak Moon, it symbolizes the transition to winter and offers a spectacular sight for skywatchers and photographers alike.

Nov 16: Mercury at Greatest Elongation East

On November 16th, Mercury reaches its greatest elongation east of the Sun, appearing at its maximum separation angle from the Sun as observed from Earth. This celestial event offers an excellent opportunity for observers to spot Mercury in the eastern sky just before sunrise, showcasing its radiant presence as the “Morning Star.”

Nov 17/18: Leonid Meteor Shower

The Leonid Meteor Shower, peaking on November 17th-18th, originates from the debris left by Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. Known for its periodic meteor storms, this meteor shower offers observers a chance to witness a flurry of meteors streaking across the night sky, emanating from the constellation Leo, the Lion.

Astronomical Events December 2024

Dec 1: New Moon

December 1st marks the New Moon, a phase where the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, rendering it invisible from Earth. This phase provides optimal conditions for stargazing and observing faint celestial objects due to the absence of moonlight, offering astronomers and skywatchers a pristine view of the cosmos.

Dec 7: Jupiter at Opposition

December 7th marks Jupiter at opposition, when the gas giant aligns opposite the Sun as observed from Earth. This celestial event places Jupiter at its closest approach to Earth, offering skywatchers an optimal opportunity to observe and photograph the largest planet in the solar system, along with its iconic features and swirling cloud bands.

Dec 14/15: Geminid Meteors

The Geminid Meteor Shower, peaking on December 14th-15th, originates from the debris left by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Known for its abundant and bright meteors, this meteor shower offers observers a chance to witness up to 120 meteors per hour streaking across the night sky, emanating from the constellation Gemini, the Twins.

Dec 15: Cold Moon

The Cold Moon, occurring on December 15th, graces the winter night sky with its luminous glow. Named for the frigid temperatures that grip the Northern Hemisphere during this time, it symbolizes the onset of winter’s chill. Also known as the Long Night Moon, it illuminates the darkness of the longest nights of the year, offering a serene and enchanting sight for sky gazers.

Dec 21: December Solstice

December 21st marks the December Solstice, a significant astronomical event signaling the official beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere. This day marks the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it heralds the longest day and shortest night. It signifies the tilt of Earth’s axis as it orbits the Sun, marking a celestial milestone in the changing seasons.

Dec 22/23: Ursid Meteors

The Ursid Meteor Shower, peaking on December 22nd and 23rd, provides a celestial spectacle as Earth passes through the debris left by Comet 8P/Tuttle. Although it’s not as prolific as other meteor showers, the Ursids still offer skywatchers the chance to witness up to 10 meteors per hour emanating from the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Bear, creating a dazzling display against the winter night sky.

Dec 25: Mercury at Greatest Elongation West

On December 25th, Mercury reaches its greatest elongation west of the Sun, presenting a prime opportunity for observation. Appearing at its maximum separation angle from the Sun as observed from Earth, Mercury shines brightly in the western sky just after sunset, serving as a captivating celestial sight for skywatchers and astronomers alike.

Dec 30: Black New Moon

The Black New Moon on December 30th marks the final lunar phase of the year, characterized by the absence of moonlight as the Moon aligns with the Sun, rendering it invisible from Earth. Symbolizing new beginnings and fresh starts, this celestial event offers a blank canvas for introspection and renewal as the year draws to a close, inspiring contemplation and anticipation for the possibilities of the future.

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