Astronomy Events For 2021 last edit January 9, 2021. If you want a Word document for the list of events:
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Astronomical Events 2021 Times are Central Time Zone ...OK To Copy
2nd Draft … see the website at the end of the document for updates after Jan 9th, 2021
January 2 Today, the Earth is closest to the Sun for 2021. (Cold temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are due to the tilt of Earth's axis. The Sun is lower in the sky today than in July.)
January 2,3 Quadrantids Meteor Shower Meteors appear to come from Constellation Bootes. View after midnight. Moonlight will limit how many meteors you will see.
January 12 New Moon
January 23 Mercury is at a large angle east (left) of Sun in the sky. View it low in the western sky shortly after sunset.
January 28 Full Moon
February 11 New Moon
February 18 Mars – Perseverance Rover Landing Date at Jezero Crater. The rover (2,260 pounds on Earth) carries a helicopter (4 pounds on Earth) that will demonstrate helicopter operations are possible on Mars. The rover will take data on rock and soil samples and will put some samples in containers that may be returned to Earth by a future mission perhaps 10 years from now.
February 27 Full Moon
March 13 New Moon
March 14 Beginning of Daylight Savings Time. Move clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.
March 19 Mars is about 2 degrees from the Crescent Moon. View them around 8 p.m. They are also somewhat close to Aldebaran.
March 20 March Equinox ... 12 hours of night, 12 hours of daylight for all points on Earth. This is the start of Spring for the Northern Hemisphere.
March 28 Full Moon
April 4 Easter … Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after March 21st. The latest date for Easter is April 25th (1943, 2038).
April 11 New Moon
April 22,23 Lyrids Meteor Shower - about 20 meteors/hour if you view from a dark location (not in a city). Meteors appear to come from the Lyra constellation. Observe after midnight but note that the waxing gibbous moon will limit the number of meteors than can be seen in 2021.
April 26 Full Moon "Supermoon." The Moon will appear slightly larger and brighter in the sky as it will be at a point in its orbit slightly closer to the Earth than its average distance.
May 6,7 Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower - about 20 meteors/hour if you have a dark sky. Meteors appear to come from Aquarius. Observe after midnight. The Third Quarter Moon will interfere with viewing the meteors.
May 11 New Moon
May 15 Mars is about 1.5 degrees from the Crescent Moon. View them after 9 p.m. in the constellation of Gemini.
May 17 Mercury is at a large angle east (left) of Sun in the sky. View it low in the western sky shortly after sunset.
May 17 The Waxing Crescent Moon is about 3 degrees North of the Beehive Open Cluster. View them in the evening.
May 26 Full Moon-LUNAR ECLIPSE. The partial eclipse of the Moon begins at 4:45 a.m. (CDT) as the Moon enters the Earth’s shadow. The Moon will be above the western horizon. The Total Eclipse starts at 6:11 a.m. (CDT) so the Total Eclipse will not be visible in Nebraska. But, the Total Eclipse starts at 4:11 a.m. PacificDT and will be visible for observers in the western USA. The total phase only lasts for 14 minutes.
June 10 Partial Solar Eclipse visible in the NorthEastern USA shortly after sunrise.
June 10 New Moon
June 20 June Solstice, Start of Summer for Northern Hemisphere. Start of Winter for S. Hemisphere. Greatest length of daylight hours for N. Hemisphere.
June 24 Full Moon "Supermoon" The Moon will appear slightly larger and brighter in the sky as it will be at a point in its orbit slightly closer to the Earth than its average distance.
July 5 The Earth is at its farthest point from the Sun today. (Warm temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are due to the tilt of Earth's axis. The Sun is higher in the sky than in January.)
July 9 New Moon
July 11 Venus, Mars, and Waxing Crescent Moon are within 3 degrees of each other. View them low in the western sky soon after sunset.
July 21 Venus is very near Regulus and Mars is also close. View them low in the western sky soon after sunset.
July 23 Full Moon
July 29 Mars is near Regulus. View them low in the western sky soon after sunset.
August 1 Saturn Opposition … Saturn is closest to Earth, and brightest, for 2021. It is visible all night long. View it in the eastern sky at sunset and in the southern sky at midnight.
August 8 New Moon
August 12,13 Perseid Meteor Shower - up to 50 meteors per hour if you have a dark sky. Meteors appear to come from Perseus. Observe after midnight. The Moon will not interfere with viewing these meteors in 2021.
August 18 Conjunction of Mars and Mercury ... less than 0.5 degrees apart, low in western sky shortly after sunset
August 19 Jupiter at Opposition (opposite side of Earth compared to Sun) … Jupiter
is closest to Earth, and brightest, for 2021. It is visible all night long.
View it in the eastern sky at sunset and in the southern sky at midnight.
August 22 Full Moon
September 6 New Moon
September 13, 14 Mercury is at a large angle east (left) of Sun in the sky. View it low in the western sky shortly after sunset.
September 20 Full Moon
September 22 September Equinox, 12 hours of night, 12 hours of daylight, Start of Fall for Northern Hemisphere
October 6 New Moon
October 15, 16, 17 Venus is near Antares. View them near the SW horizon soon after sunset.
October 20 Full Moon
October 21,22 Orionid Meteor Shower - perhaps 20 meteors per hour if you have a dark sky. View after midnight. Meteors will appear to come from the Orion constellation. Light from the nearly Full Moon will interfere with viewing these meteors in 2021.
October 29 Venus is at a large angle east (left) of Sun in the sky. View it high in the western sky after sunset.
November 4 New Moon
November 7 End of Daylight Savings Time, Set clocks back one hour Saturday night.
November 17,18 Leonid Meteor Shower - Up to 15 meteors per hour if your sky is dark. Meteors appear to come from Leo. View after midnight. Light from the nearly Full Moon will limit the number of meteors that can be seen in 2021.
November 19 Full Moon
November 19 Partial Lunar Eclipse (not a total lunar eclipse) The Moon enters the Earth’s shadow at 1:18 a.m. (CST) and exits the Earth’s shadow at 4:47 a.m. (CST)
December 4 New Moon
December 13,14 Geminids Meteor Shower - up to 50 meteors/hour if you have a dark sky. Meteors seem to come from the Gemini constellation. View after midnight. Light from the waxing gibbous Moon will interfere with observing the meteors in 2021.
December 18 Full Moon
December 21 December Solstice – This date has the shortest amount of daylight for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. Start of Winter
!!!Note-Start making plans for the April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse that will be visible from Texas through Maine. Totality (sun blocked by Moon) lasts around 4.5 min., which is considerably longer than the time of totality for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.
This list was assembled by Greg Clements. Sources:eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/lunar.html, seasky.org, universetoday.com, timeanddate.com, nakedeyeplanets.com, in-the-sky.org, astropixels.com/ephemeris/astrocal/astrocal2021gmt.html
Astronomy videos on YouTube, indexed at astronomy.gpclements.com Free, no registration
Physics videos on YouTube, indexed at physics.gpclements.com Free, no registration
The physics videos (about 340) are for an introductory physics class. The astronomy videos (about 200) include videos for the general public and educational videos.
This sky calendar can be freely accessed and printed at astronomy.gpclements.com .