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Friday, January 08, 2021

 

Coming Events: A Year of Southern Astronomy for 2021

Venus, crescent Moon, Saturn and Jupiter on 7 December 2021 at 22:05 ACDST, (90 Minutes after Sunset) as seen from Adelaide. Most of Australia will enjoy similar views 90 Minutes after Sunset Click to embiggen.

The table below shows significant astronomical events that can be seen with the unaided eye or minimal equipment in 2021 in Australia (and to some degree elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, ocultations and eclipses are very region specific). 

This year we get a good Total Lunar eclipse during a perigee "super" Full Moon and a partial lunar eclipse under very poor conditions. There is a good opposition of Jupiter and Saturn. Mars skims past the Pleiades and Beehive cluster. Venus too skims past the Beehive. There is also a good opposition of Vesta.

While we don't have a spectacular conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn this, we have some fantastic parings and lineups and good meteor showers.

Close pairings of the Moon and bright planets are given special attention as not only is the Moon a ready guide to locating the planets if you are not familiar with them, these massings are rather beautiful. 

Special events are bolded.

Date Event
January
2 January 2021 Earth at Perihelion
12 January 2021 Crescent Moon and Venus close low in the morning twilight
14 January 2021 Crescent Moon, Mercury and Jupiter close low in the evening twilight
21 January 2021 Mars and waxing Moon close
21 January 2021 Uranus between Mars and the waxing Moon
February
6-7 February 2021 Venus close to Saturn low in the twilight
11 February 2021 Venus close to Jupiter and the crescent moon low in the twilight
19 February 2021Mars near first Quarter Moon
20-28 February 2021 Mercury between Jupiter and Saturn in the twilight
28 February 2021 Mars within binocular distance of the Pleiades cluster
March
1-9 March 2021 Mars within binocular distance of the Pleiades cluster, closest on the 2nd
4 March 2021 Asteroid Vesta at opposition, just visible to the unaided eye, best in binoculars
5 March 2021 Mercury very close to Jupiter below Saturn in the morning
10 March 2021 Saturn close to the crescent Moon in the morning
11 March 2021Mercury close to Jupiter and the crescent Moon
in the morning
19 March 2021 Mars near waxing Moon
20 March 2021Earth at Equinox
April
7 April 2021 Saturn near to the waning Moon in the morning sky
8 April 2021 Jupiter near to the crescent Moon in the morning sky
11 April 2021 Mercury close to the crescent Moon in the morning twilight
17 April 2021 Mars close to the crescent Moon
27 April 2021 Mars on outskirts of open cluster M35 (binoculars best)
28 April 2021 Perigee Full Moon ("super" Moon), 1:00 am
May
4  May 2021 Saturn close to waning Moon in the morning sky
5 May 2021 Jupiter near to the waning Moon in the morning sky
6-7 May 2021Eta Aquariid meteor shower
14 May 2021Thin crescent Moon above Mercury in morning sky
26 May 2021Total eclipse Perigee Full Moon ("super" Moon), 12:00 pm (eclipse from 8 pm)
29 May 2021 Mercury and Venus close low in the twilight (binoculars best)
June
1 June 2021 waning Moon near Jupiter
12 June 2021 Venus near thin crescent Moon low in the evening sky
14 June 2021 Waxing crescent Moon and Mars near in evening sky
21 June 2021 Earth at solstice
23-24 June 2021 Mars crosses beehive cluster (binoculars best)
27 June 2021 Waning Moon close to Saturn
28 June 2021 waning Moon near Jupiter
July
3 July 2021 Venus at the edge of the beehive cluster, best in binoculars
6 July 2021 Earth at aphelion
8 July 2021Mercury close to the thin crescent Moon in the morning
12 July 2021Crescent Moon, Venus and Mars close in the evening
13 July 2021Venus and Mars very close in the evening sky
22 July 2021 Venus very close to bright star Regulus
24 July 2021 Saturn near Moon
26 July 2021 Jupiter near Moon
29-30 July 2021 Southern Delta Aquarids meteor shower
30 July 2021 Mars very close to Regulus
August
2 August 2021 Saturn at opposition
10 August 2021 Mars near thin crescent Moon
11 August 2021 Venus close to crescent Moon
18 August 2021 Variable star Mira predicted to peak in brightness
19 August 2021 Jupiter at opposition
17-21 August 2021 Mercury close to Mars, closest on the 19th
20 August 20 Saturn near Moon
22 August 2021 Jupiter near Moon
September
6 September 2021 Venus close to bright star Spica
9 September 2021 Mercury and crescent Moon close in the evening sky
10 September 2021 Crescent Moon and Venus nearby forming triangle with Spica
17 September 2021 Waxing Moon near Saturn
18 September 2021 Waxing Moon near Jupiter
23 September 2021 Earth at Equinox
21 September 2021 Mercury close to bright star Spica
24 September 2021 Venus close to moderately bright star alpha2 Librae, below Scorpius and above the pair of Mercury and Spica
October
1 October 2021 Mercury and bright star Spica still close
10 October 2021 Venus, the crescent Moon and the bright star Antares form a triangle
14 October 2021 Saturn and the waxing Moon close
15 October 2021 Jupiter and the waxing Moon close
17 October 2021 Venus and the bright star Antares at their closest
21-22 October 2021 Orionid meteor shower
23-24 October 2021 Venus close to globular cluster M19 (binocular or telescope)
November
4 November 2021 Thin crescent Moon close to Mercury low in the twilight
8 November 2021Venus close to thin crescent Moon below the teapot of Sagittarius
8-24 November 2021 Venus crosses the teapot of Sagittarius
10-11 November 2021 Waxing Moon near Saturn
11-12 November 2021Waxing Moon near Saturn
18 November 2021 Leonid Meteor Shower
19 November 2021 Partial Lunar eclipse, difficult with mid eclipse in the twilight
December
3 December 2021 Mars and thin crescent Moon close low in the morning twilight
7-10 December 2021 Three bright planets form a line in the evening with the thin crescent. moon joining them, Venus and Moon close on the 7th
8 December 2021 Saturn and crescent Moon close
10 December 2021 Jupiter and crescent Moon close
14 December 2021 Geminid Meteor shower in the morning (waxing Moon sets before best rates)
18 December 2021 Apogee Full Moon (12:00 pm)
21 December 2021 Earth is at Solstice
23-30 December 2021 four bight planets, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter line up in the evening twilight, on the 29th Venus and Mercury are at their closest.
1 January 2022 Thin crescent Moon very close to Mars low in the morning sky. Occultation seen in south eastern and south central Australia

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