2016 may be coming to a close, but that only means a new year is nearly upon us, bringing a new slew of astronomical events to see in the sky. From meteor showers to eclipses to supermoons, 2017 will have plenty to offer the astronomy-enthusiast.
To help you plan out your year in advance, and ensure you don’t miss a single amazing sight, here are a list of major celestial events to check out in 2017.
- January 3 & 4: The Quadrantids Meteor Shower
An annual meteor shower that typically occurs from January 1-5, the Quadrantids Meteor Shower is a celestial event that will have up to 40 meteors per hour shooting through the sky. Viewing will be best after midnight and can be seen from pretty much anywhere in the night sky.
- February 11: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
When the moon goes past the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbra, a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse occurs, turning the moon somewhat darker but not completely in shadow. The Penumbral Lunar Eclipse set to take place on Feb. 11th and will be viewable in eastern Canada, along with Europe, Africa, and western Asia.
- February 26: Annular Solar Eclipse
Unlike a full solar eclipse, an annular solar eclipse happens when the moon is simply at a distance too great from the Earth to blot out the sun entirely. You can expect to see a bright ring of light surrounding a shadowed moon, but the Sun’s corona will not be seen. Unfortunately, this eclipse won’t be viewable in Canada, as it will be viewable in areas surrounding the southern Atlantic Ocean.
- April 22 & 23: Lyrids Meteor Shower
Peaking on the eve of April 22nd until the morn of the 23rd, the Lyrids Meteor Shower will feature about 20 meteors per hour during this peak time. Created by the dust particle left from comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, Lyrids meteors tend to create rather bright dust trails, making for a spectacular viewing experience.
- July 28 & 29: Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower
A rather long meteor shower that occurs every year from mid-July to late August, the peak of the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower will occur at the end of July this year. The best viewing times will be the night of the 28th to the morning of the 29th. About 20 meteors per hour will be viewable.
- August 21: Total Solar Eclipse
As the moon moves into position to cover up the sun entirely, the sun’s corona will shine in the sky. One of the only chances for anyone in the United States to witness a total solar eclipse (the next one won’t occur until 2024); this eclipse will no doubt be a major viewing event at the close of the summer. A partial eclipse will also be viewable throughout North America, with the total eclipse seen largely in the continental United States.
- October 7: Draconids Meteor Shower
A rather smaller meteor shower, the Draconids event will result in only about 10 meteors seen in the sky every hour. This annual shower occurs from October 6-10 but the best viewing time will be in the early evening on Oct. 7th.
- December 3: Supermoon
The only supermoon to occur throughout the entire year, this lunar event will be a fitting end to 2017. As the moon travels to the one side of the Earth, getting closer than it will at any other point in the year, the Sun will be on the other, making for a rather larger and brighter full moon than is ordinarily seen.
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