What are the most important astronomical events of 2018?

Next year, it will be possible to see some of the most spectacular celestial phenomena

What are the most important astronomical events of 2018?

In 2018, several astronomical events can be seen with the naked eye. From eclipses to meteor showers, anyone who enjoys of observing the night skies will have many opportunities to wonder themselves with the celestial spectacles that are about to come.

As the year starts, a meteor shower will be seen from any part of the planet. This phenomenon, known as the Quadrantids, will be visible between the 1st and the 5th of January, being the 3rd the day with the most activity. At the end of January, we'll have a "Blue Moon", which is when there are two full moons on the same month. The most interesting part of this event is that the Moon will be at its perigee, that is the closest position to the Earth. This will allow it to be seen 14% bigger than usual.

In addition, the shadow of our planet will project itself on the surface of the satellite and will produce a total lunar eclipse, which colors the white of the Moon into orange. This will be visible in North America, East Asia, Australia and the Pacific.

On April 22nd and 23rd, the second meteor shower will take place. The Lyrids will illuminate the skies at a rate of 20 bright traces an hour, which makes it one of the most intense in the year. It will be visible from all over the world and the best moment to see it is after midnight, when moonlight won't be polluting the night sky.

During May, the Eta Aquarids, a meteor shower produced by the remains of Halley comet will be seen. The peak of the event will be between the 6th and the 7th of that month. Two days later, Jupiter will be the closest to our planet, which will increase the light that it reflexes to the Earth. This means that its surface can be seen with a medium telescope and binoculars will be enough to see some of its moons as shinning spots nearby.

In June, Saturn will be visible in the same way than Jupitar was in May.

July will bring another total lunar eclipse, although this will be only visible from Europe, Africa, West and Central Asia, the Pacific and Indic.

On August 12nd and 13th, the most intense meteor shower of the year will take place: the Perseids. Since there's no full moon until the 26 of that month, the shower can be seen easily.

Equally, during October two more showers will occur: the Draconids and the Orionids. Nevertheless, their lights will be so weak that very few will have the chance to appreciate them.

One of the most exciting events of 2018 is the approach of a skull-shaped asteroid in middle November. Even though it is impossible to see it with the naked eye, it is of big importance for researchers and astronomers. Also, the longest meteor shower will take place: the Taurids. Its peak intensity will be between the 5th and 6th of the month.

Latinamerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández

Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

 

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