Astronomical Events of 2019.

1.Total lunar eclipse

21 January

The earth’s shadow will completely cover the moon for an hour and two minutes. This will be visible from western parts of Europe and Africa and South and North America. The eclipse coincides with a supermoon, of which there are three in 2019. This supermoon will be a “blood” moon – because of the reddish hue the moon takes during the eclipse – caused by the effect of Earth’s atmosphere on different wavelengths of light.

2.Supermoons

21 January, 19 February and 21 March

A supermoon is a full or new moon which coincides with the closest distance the moon comes to the Earth in its orbit. This results in an enlarged appearance and the moon can look 15-30% brighter. They also cause larger than usual tides a day or two later.

3.Conjunction of Mars and Uranus

13 February

Mars and Uranus will appear extremely close to each other in the night sky – this is known as an appulse. This event is also a conjunction, which in astronomy means that the planets share the same right ascension.

4.Mercury transits the sun

11 November

For five hours and 29 minutes Mercury will be visible crossing the sun. It will be one of 14 such transits in the 21st century – the last one occurred in 2016.

5.Geminid meteor shower

12-16 December

These meteors originate from 3200 Phaethon – an asteroid that was discovered in 1983 and orbits the sun every 3.3 years. This spectacular shower usually produces about 100 meteors per hour – although this year it occurs near a full moon, which will reduce its radiance – and it will be best observed before dawn.

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