Here are five astronomical events happening this year that you definitely won’t want to miss.
The year 2021 is a year full of breath-taking astronomical events that will literally be out of this world. If you are an astronomy enthusiast looking to catch a glimpse of extraordinary celestial happenings, you definitely won’t want to miss out on any of these spectacles.
On 17 April, the Earth’s moon and Mars will align together in conjunction. In astronomical terms, a conjunction is the lining up of two or more astronomical objects (stars, planets, or our moon). The Moon-Mars Conjunction will be clearly visible with a telescope, but looking at it with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars should be fine too. The celestial event will be visible from Dublin at approximately 20:54 Irish Standard Time (IST). Considering these two astronomical objects are always on the move, the conjunction will only last for a few moments. So keep your eyes peeled.
Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
Named after the constellation Aquarius, Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower (also known as Eta Aquarii) will be visible to the naked eye from 4-6 May. This spectacular meteor shower will peak from midnight to dawn on 6 May. It will showcase up to 40 meteors per hour that break away from Halley’s Comet’s surface. The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower causes beautiful coloured streaks in the night sky. Particles as small as grains of sand produce these streaks of lights. Although no advanced equipment is needed to see the meteor shower, a sky map is recommended, along with patience and suitable outdoor gear.
The full moon in June, known as the Strawberry Moon (also known as Hot Moon or Mead Moon), will be visible in the sky on 24 June. The moon will be briefly visible from Dublin at 19:39 (IST) before entering a penumbral (partially blocked light source reaching the sun) lunar eclipse. The Strawberry Moon phenomenon is named after the period when wild strawberries begin to ripen. Detailed sightings of June’s full moon can be seen using a telescope and binoculars, but if you’re on a budget, you will be able to see the moon with the naked eye without a hassle.
Another meteor shower by the name of Perseid will be one of the most dramatic and brightest fireball displays of the year. This year the Perseid meteor shower will happen between 16 June and 23 August. These high speeds and bright meteor showers are caused by the Earth slamming into debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle. The name of the meteor shower, Perseid, comes from the constellation Perseus. This cosmic phenomenon will be visible from Dublin and will showcase 60-100 meteors per hour at its peak (12-13 August). Meteor hunters don’t want to miss this fireball display!
Partial Lunar Eclipse
Although the Total Lunar Eclipse won’t be visible to people living in Ireland and Europe, we still get to experience a partial lunar eclipse. This event will occur in Ireland from around 06:02 (IST) to 07:58 (IST) on 19 November 2021. A partial lunar eclipse is when only a part of the moon enters the Earth’s umbra (the darkest part of a shadow). During the process of a partial lunar eclipse, the moon will turn to a slightly reddish colour due to the Earth blocking sunlight from reaching the moon. This wonder is also known as a Blood Moon. We might not have a total lunar eclipse to look at, but at least we have part of it.
Let us know what astronomical event you are looking forward to the most down below.