Cosmic Space Events in 2020

Cosmic Space Events in 2020

Miles May, Staff Writer

Many cool space events have happened in 2020 and many more are on the way. In January a strong display of Quadrantid meteors was seen in Europe and North America.

On February 18th the moon  glided in front of reddish, star like Mars for viewers across North America, Central America, extreme northern South America, Cuba and Haiti.

On the American evenings of April 2 and 3, the bright, magnitude -4.5 lantern of a world will be on the edge of the cluster, and nearly overwhelm the naked-eye view of the Pleiades. With sufficient telescopic magnification, the dazzling, golden-white, thick crescent of Venus floating near the blue-white stars of the cluster will be visible.

 On April 7th the moon will have its largest full moon.

On June 21st the Annular eclipse of the sun will occur.

The Perseids are the “Old Faithful” of meteor showers. That’s worth remembering, even if a last-quarter moon will interfere somewhat with this beloved meteor display at peak activity, which is expected on the morning of Aug. 12. Otherwise, an observer might witness more than a meteor a minute in a clear, dark sky. 

In October, Mars will be very visible and bright.

 Those who constantly scan the sky for meteors now feel that the Geminids in December are the best of the annual showers, surpassing even the August Perseids. The Geminids are scheduled to reach their maximum late on the night of Dec. 14 into the morning hours of Dec. 15, when 60 to 120 slow, graceful meteors per hour may be seen under ideal dark-sky conditions. 

The final eclipse of 2020 will be visible only from the lower two-thirds of South America and a narrow slice of southwestern Africa. North America will not see any part of it.

Jupiter and Saturn are in conjunction with each other on an average of once about every 20 years. When they come closest to each other they are usually separated by about a degree or two. But on Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will provide a rare opportunity to both in the same view of a high-powered telescope! In fact, this will be the “tightest” conjunction of these two worlds since 1623; they will be separated by just one-fifth of the apparent diameter of the full moon!

This year is a big year for star lovers and should even be exciting for those who aren’t very interested.