Busy jotting down those dates in your planner? This year brings about some of the most spectacular sights in the heavens, including comets and eclipses that are bound to inspire awe. Watch as planets aline for some of the most astronomically pleasing times of the year. Check out these dates and be sure to circle them in your calendar. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the beauty of the universe in 2015!
On April 4, the sky will have no moon. Between the early hours and 12:00 noon (GMT), our planet will pass between the sun and our lunar neighbor. You will be able to enjoy this entire event from the south Pacific, including Australia, Alaska and Japan. Those in North America will only witness a partial eclipse, sorry guys!
Not to worry, those in North America, Africa and Europe will be able to experience the total eclipse. Beginning at 10 p.m. (EDT), those in the specified area will get to witness the last eclipse of the tetrad, which started in 2014. This will also mark the date for the “SuperMoon”, so make sure to spend some time with this gorgeous lunar body before it disappears!
To gaze at the moon is to become transfixed in awe. Its quality to soothe and simultaneously enrage the senses is extraordinary. This year, the moon will provide formations with the stars and pair with planets offering a dramatic show.
The moon will not be alone to the naked eye. You can catch a glimpse of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter in the early hours of this day. Just get up bright and early and take a look toward the eastern sky. You will not be disappointed.
The waning moon will again join with the planets, to put on a spectacular show. Both Mercury and Venus will team up with the moon once more. Pay close attention, stargazers, and you will notice the contrast of colors in the planets. One will appear red while the other white!
On June 30, Venus and Jupiter will be paired side by side in the night sky. Keep your eyes toward the western sky at dusk to enjoy this phenomenal sight. There will only be a sky distance of 0.3 degrees between the two. Only eleven days before this pairing, the moon will join them forming a triangle of heavenly bodies.
Right before dawn, you can see four, that’s right, four planetary bodies congregating in the night sky. As Mars, Venus and Jupiter form a triangle, Mercury will join in. Make sure you look very low in the eastern sky to get an eye-full of this show.
The Comet Catalina
This comet may brighten enough to be seen, with binoculars, in the night sky during December. As each day of the month passes by, the comet can be seen rising higher.
In the southwestern sky, the comet can be viewed at dawn. It will pass just 5 degrees from Venus. By New Year’s Day, 2016, the comet will pass only a half degree from Arcturus, one of the brightest stars in the sky. This should end a year of stargazing with a bang!