A solar eclipse that goes back in time, six super moons (three of them invisible) and a catapulting comet mark the skies of 2016.
Six super moons, three of them new—and thus invisible—and three of them blazing white will take us through the year, Earthsky.org tells us.
“The new moons of March, April and May and the full moons of October, November and December all qualify as supermoons,” says Earthsky.org.
The fun started right at the beginning of January, with the Quadrantid meteors last weekend.
This video previews what’s in store for the rest of the month.
But the other 11 months of 2016 give much, much more. This year’s skies promise to spice up our earthbound lives with all manner of phenomena that serve as constant reminders of the vastness of space, and the fragility of this planet we call home.
Spectacularly, March will bring us a solar eclipse that tracks from west to east, meaning “it will cross the international date line—so the solar eclipse will begin March 9 and end March 8!” says Space.com. “A partial eclipse will be visible from parts of Alaska and from the Hawaiian Islands.”
Twice this year the star Aldebaran will be eclipsed by none other than our own moon, notes Space.com.
“A waxing gibbous moon will cross in front of one of the brightest and most colorful stars in the sky, orange Aldebaran,” says Space.com. “This stellar eclipse will be visible over Canada and most of the United States, except the Gulf Coast and Florida.”
That will happen on January 19, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Aldebaran will be occulted (eclipsed) three more times this year as well: on July 29, October 19 and again in December.
In addition a number of the year’s meteor showers promise to be dazzling, unobstructed by moonlight. Mars will make a blazing red appearance. And the comet Catalina will swing around the sun and be catapulted right out of our solar system, Earthsky.org says.
“It’ll sweep closest—but not too close—on January 17,” Earthsky.org says. “Its trajectory suggests it’ll be ejected from our solar system, and we’ll never see this comet again.”