Mark your calendars: The top skywatching events of 2019

Transit of Mercury, another Supermoon highlight the year

By Jonathan Kegges - Meteorologist

ROANOKE. Va. - Space just put on a show with the total lunar eclipse. If it was too cold or too late for you to view, here are more chances to enjoy everything space has to offer.

February 19 - Supermoon Part 2:

This will be the largest Supermoon of 2019 and the second of three for the year. The third Supermoon of the year occurs on March 21.

August 12-13 - Perseid Meteor Shower:

One of the best annual meteor showers peaks the morning of the 13. This time around, however, an almost full moon will drown out most of the fainter shooting stars. The best time to view will be just before dawn on the 13 as the moon will have set by that point.

November 11 - Transit of Mercury:

Similar to an eclipse, Venus and Mercury transit the sun. Mercury will appear as a tiny black dot moving across the sun on the morning of November 11. Just like with a solar eclipse, special eye filters will be needed if you plan to view this. Since Mercury is so small, you will need a telescope (with a filter to protect your eyes) to view this rare event. The last occurred in 2016, but the next won't be visible in the United States until 2049.

November 24 - Venus and Jupiter together:

Look very low on the horizon during the evening of November 24 and you'll notice two very bright entities. Jupiter and Venus will be hanging out together in the southwest sky. They will be even closer than we they appeared together back on January 22. Venus will be on the lower left to Jupiter. 

Four days later, November 28, the crescent moon and Saturn get in on the fun. Venus will rise above Jupiter with the crescent moon slightly above Venus. Well above the trio near the horizon will be Saturn, the third brightest planet. This will occur about 45 minutes after sundown.

December 13-14 - Gemenid Meteor Shower:

Like the Perseids in August, the Geminids are one of the best annual meteor showers, Known for their colorful streaks across the sky, the Geminds peak in mid-December with the peak coming during the overnight hours of the 13 and 14. The moon will also get in the way of these shooting stars. As with any meteor shower, the further you get away from lights, the more meteors you will see. You might want to bring a blanket for this one as a general rule of thumb is you need at least 15 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.

There are other smaller meteor showers and celestial events that Storm Team 10 will keep you posted on. The above are just a few of the biggest events to look forward to in the coming year.

 

 

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