The Astronomy Calendar 2020 makes a lot of sense in this blog. You might remember from previous posts or Instagram Stories that I’m obsessed with Sun and Moon. In fact, I already talked about my hunt for a Supermoon (and eclipse) here and here.
When it comes to sunrise and sunset, there’s a bit of luck involved because you can hardly know if the colours in the sky will turn how you want them. Of course, I know and plan according to the sun’s position, but colours can be a bit of a gamble. OK, sunset may be easier. But sunrises can indeed be a gamble.
With Moon, stars and planets, it’s all about planning. And the firm hope that the weather will cooperate. Which, in recent times, it hardly did.
It’s February now, so a couple events are already in the past. But I’ll write here everything that happens in the skies in 2020 (visible without a telescope). Some events might only be visible in specific parts of the planet so make sure you go where they happen!
So, here’s my Astronomy Calendar 2020.
10 January. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.
This was visible in the Northern Hemisphere. It wasn’t something too exciting, so of course the London sky was absolutely crystal clear…
For a few hours, one side of the Moon went slightly darker.
This is the photo I captured:
09 February. Supermoon, Snow Moon.
The first Supermoon of this year. I explained this in detail in a previous post, but essentially a Supermoon happens when it is closest to Earth. And every full moon has a different name.
It was a day of strong winds (in fact, storm Ciara was just around the corner), so my footage was quite shaky, and I had to stabilise it in Adobe Premiere. But I managed to capture the moonrise behind St. Paul’s Cathedral.
18 February. Moon, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter.
In the Northern latitudes of North America, you’ll be able to watch Mars disappear behind the crescent moon as the moon slides into place between Earth and the red planet.
From around the world, the three planets line up across the early morning sky, with Mars at the top, and Saturn at the bottom. The brightest, Jupiter, will be between those two.
09 March. Supermoon, Worm Moon.
Again this month, the Moon will be close to Earth.
24 March. Venus.
Venus has been quite close to the Moon for some time now, but this will be the ideal time to view it since it will be at its highest point.
08 April. Supermoon, Pink Moon.
This will be the Supermoon that I most hope to capture in 2020. It will be the largest of the year, and in the past, it made for some pretty spectacular shots:
22 April. Lyrids Shower.
Not the biggest meteors event but still pretty nice to see, with up to 20 meteors per hour.
07 May. Supermoon, Flower Moon and Eta Aquarids Shower.
Last chance to photograph a Supermoon in 2020.
The full moon will cause the Aquarids meteor shower to become almost invisible as the sky will be too bright. Unless you find yourself in one of those very dark locations after Midnight…
04 June. Mercury.
Now it’s Mercury’s time to be at its highest in the sky. It should be visible right after sunset.
05 June. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.
See the photo above in January. The Moon will darken slightly as it passes through Earth’s lighter shadow.
21 June. Annular Solar Eclipse.
I didn’t know this was a regular event until last year. I saw some really spectacular photos, so I want to travel to a country where this will happen (likely in the Middle East).
This is the month I will go out as much as possible to try to shoot the Milky Way galactic core. Last year, we only had 1 (one!) clear day in the whole month…
05 July. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.
Yes. Again. 🙂
14 July. Jupiter.
This should be the best night to view Jupiter, which should be in the sky all night.
20 July. Saturn.
And the same goes for Saturn one week later. Maybe they’ll even be in the sky together between these two days? Or maybe it’s something for later in the year…
28 July. Delta Aquarids Shower.
The second quarter moon will block many of the fainter meteors this year. But if you are patient, you should still be able to catch a few of the brighter ones. The best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. The shower runs for a month from mid-July, but this will be the peak.
12-13 August. Perseids Shower.
This is the Summer appointment with the meteors. Apparently, there can be up to 60 meteors per hour radiating from the constellation. Guess we need to be ready for long exposures 🙂
September will be quiet this year. But then comes October, and you will be in for a few treats…
1 October. Harvest Moon.
Not much to mention in September, but October starts with this yellow/orange Moon low in the sky after sunset. This one should make for a good timelapse.
7 October. Draconids Shower.
The second quarter moon will ensure dark skies in the early evening for what should be a good show. Yay!
13 October. Mars.
Finally, it’s time for Mars to shine bright in the sky all night.
21-22 October. Orionids Shower.
The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley and runs for over a month. These 2 days should be the peak, and the sky is expected to be dark enough to see the meteors clearly.
31 October. Blue Moon.
Yes! The Moon will be blue tonight!
Just kidding… The name Blue Moon is given to the second full moon happening in one month. It’s not too common, hence why we say “once in a blue moon” to say something has little chance of happening.
4-5 November. Taurid Fireballs.
Keep your fingers crossed! In 2008 the Taurid meteor shower. normally modest, produced spectacular fireballs visible even in fairly bright moonlight. It’s rare, but it can happen. So…
30 November. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.
And once again, the full moon will show a tiny dark side…
13-14 December. Geminids Shower.
This is even more eventful than the Perseids, as up to 120 meteors per hour can appear in the sky. 120!!!
14 December. Total Solar Eclipse
This will only be visible in the Southern Pacific Ocean and parts of Chile and Argentina. But it’s going to be Summer down there, so perhaps it’s not a bad idea for a holiday… And I still don’t have a good solar eclipse shot in my portfolio…
21 December. Jupiter and Saturn
Yes. The Great Conjunction. Here it is.
The last one happened in 2000, so it’s pretty rare.
Some of the events I described here are available in a downloadable calendar from the telescope manufacturer Celestron’s website.
But of course, I’d rather have you bookmark this page with my own Astronomy Calendar 2020 🙂
Hopefully, none of the above will be disrupted by Elon Musk’s satellite network…