Astronomical Events ( 2018)

 

 

Observing Season 2018

JANUARY

1 Jan: Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 22.7 degrees from the Sun and will be
at its highest above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky
just before sunrise.

2 Jan: Supermoon. Full Moon coincides with the Moon's closest approach to Earth (perigee). 
Makes January's 'Wolf Moon' a Supermoon, which means the Moon may look larger and 
brighter than usual.

3 Jan: Earth at Perihelion (closest point to the Sun in its yearly orbit)

3 to 4 Jan: Quadrantid meteor shower with up to 40 meteors per hour. Thought to be produced
by dust grains from an extinct comet (2003 EH1 - discovered in 2003). The shower runs annually
from 1 to 5 January. Best viewed from a dark location after midnight. The nearly full moon will 
block out all but the brightest meteors this year. Meteors will radiate from the constellation 
Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

11 Jan: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter
11 Jan: Conjunction of the Moon and Mars

14 Jan: M47 and NGC 2403 are well placed

17 Jan:  New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will 
not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star
clusters.

30 Jan: M44 is well placed

31 Jan: Dwarf planet Ceres at opposition
31 Jan: Blue Moon (the second Full Moon in the same month). Eclipsed if viewed from 
western North America, eastern Asia, Australia and the Pacific Ocean (... not Shetland)

FEBRUARY

7 Feb: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter

15 Feb: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the
Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects 
such as galaxies and star clusters.

19 Feb: M81 is well placed

MARCH

2 March: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as
the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.
2 March: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter

15 March: Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches 
greatest eastern elongation of 18.4 degrees from the Sun. A good time to view
Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky.
Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.

17 March: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as 
the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects
such as galaxies and star clusters.

20 March: March Equinox. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there 
will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. The first 
day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

24 March: 136472 Makemake at opposition

31 March: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth
as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. Since this is the second 
full moon in the same month, it is sometimes referred to as a blue moon. 
This year both January and March both contain two full moons while February
has no full moon.

APRIL

1 April: M104 is well placed

3 April: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter

4 April: M94 is well placed

14 April: M51 is well placed

17 April: M3 is well placed

16 April: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the 
Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects
such as galaxies and star clusters.

22 April: M101 is well placed

22 to 23 April: Lyrid Meteor Shower. Expected to peak between 22 and 23 April 
with about 20 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by 
comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. The shower runs annually from 16 to 25 April. 
These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several 
seconds. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will 
radiate from the constellation Lyra, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

29 April: Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation (27 degrees from the Sun). 
This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above 
the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just 
before sunrise.

30 April: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth 
as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.
30 April: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter

MAY

6 May: Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Can produce up to 30 meteors per hour at its
peak in the Northern hemisphere. It is produced by dust particles left behind by 
comet Halley, which has known and observed since ancient times. The shower
runs annually from 19 April to 28 May. Best viewing will be from a dark location 
after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can 
appear anywhere in the sky.

9 May: Jupiter at opposition. The giant planet will be at its closest approach to 
Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any
other time of the year and be visible all night. A good pair of binoculars should 
allow you to see Jupiter's four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either
side of the planet.

11 May: M5 is well placed

15 May: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the
Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects
such as galaxies and star clusters.

17 May: Conjunction of the Moon and Venus

27 May: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter

29 May: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth 
as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.

JUNE

2 June: M13 is well placed

3 June: M12 is well placed

5 June: M10 is well placed

10 June: M92 is well placed

13 June: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the
Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects
such as galaxies and star clusters.

16 June: Conjunction of the Moon and Venus
16 June: Close approach of the Moon and M44

18 June: IC4665 is well placed

21 June: Summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere - the longest day of the 
year. The North Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have 
reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic
of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude. This is the first day of summer in the 
Northern Hemisphere.

23 June: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter

27 June: Saturn at Opposition. The ringed planet will be at its closest approach 
to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than 
any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time 
to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger 
telescope will allow you to see Saturn's rings and a few of its brightest moons.

28 June: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth 
as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.
28 June: NGC 6633 is well placed

JULY

6 July: Earth at Aphelion: the furthest point from the Sun in its yearly orbit.
13 July: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the 
Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. 

21 July: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter

27 July: Mars at opposition. The red planet will be at its closest approach to 
Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun.

27 to 28 July: Total lunar eclipse and full Moon. 
Can be seen in Shetland at 21:47 at maximum. Ends at 23.19. 
Moon is close to horizon so ensure a clear view to south east. Best seen from 
an elevated point.

28 to 29 July: Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower which can produce up to 20 meteors
per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by comets Marsden 
and Kracht. The shower runs annually from 12 July to 23 August. Best viewed
from a dark location after midnight, which may be a problem in a Shetland 
summer. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear 
anywhere in the sky.

AUGUST

11 Aug: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun
 and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects
such as galaxies and star clusters.
11 Aug: Partial solar eclipse
Begins: Sat, 11 Aug 2018, 09:29
Maximum: Sat, 11 Aug 2018, 09:50 0.06 Magnitude
Ends: Sat, 11 Aug 2018, 10:12

12 / 13 Aug: Perseid Meteors
The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 
meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was 
discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of 
bright meteors. The shower runs annually from 17 July to 24 August. Best 
viewing will be from a dark location after midnight, which may be a problem 
in the Shetland summer. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, 
but can appear anywhere in the sky.

14 Aug: Conjunction of the Moon and Venus
14 Aug: M15 is well placed

15 Aug: M2 is well placed

17 Aug: Venus at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Venus reaches 
greatest eastern elongation of 45.9 degrees from the Sun. This is the best 
time to view Venus since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the 
evening sky. Look for the bright planet in the western sky after sunset.

26 Aug: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth 
as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.
26 Aug:  Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation of 18.3 degrees from the Sun. 
This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above 
the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just 
before sunrise.

SEPTEMBER

7 Sept: Neptune at Opposition. The blue giant planet will be at its closest approach
 to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than 
any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time 
to view and photograph Neptune. Due to its extreme distance from Earth, it will 
only appear as a tiny blue dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.

9 Sept: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the 
Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects
such as galaxies and star clusters.

23 Sept: September Equinox. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there
will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also
the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere.

25 Sept: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth
as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This moon is also known as
the Harvest Moon which is the full moon that occurs closest to the September 
equinox each year.

25 Sept: Venus at greatest brightness

OCTOBER

1 Oct: M110 is well placed

2 Oct: M31 and M32 are well placed

8 Oct: Draconid Meteor Shower. The Draconids produce only about 10 meteors 
per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner,
which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that
the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other
showers. It runs annually from 6 to 10 October. This will be an excellent year to 
observe the Draconids because there will be no moonlight to spoil the show. 
Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location. Meteors will radiate
from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

11 Oct: Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter

15 Oct: M33 is well placed

18 Oct: Conjunction of the Moon and Mars

21/22 Oct: Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing
up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by
comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The 
shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. Best viewing will be from 
a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion,
but can appear anywhere in the sky.

23 Oct: Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach
to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than 
any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time 
to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot 
in all but the most powerful telescopes.

24 Oct: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as
the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.

26 Oct: NGC 869 is well placed

27 Oct: NGC 884 is well placed

31 Oct: Close approach of the Moon and M44

NOVEMBER

5/6 Nov: Taurids Meteor Shower. The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor 
shower producing  about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists
of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by 
Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by 
Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from 7 September to 10 December. 
The thin crescent moon will set early in the evening leaving dark skies for viewing.
Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location. Meteors will radiate
from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

6 Nov: Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation of 23.3 degrees from the Sun. 
This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above 
the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just 
after sunset.

7 Nov: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the 
Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects
such as galaxies and star clusters.

16 Nov: Conjunction of the Moon and Mars

17 Oct: M45 is well placed

17/18 Nov: Leonid Meteor Shower. Produces up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak.
This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where 
hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. That last of these occurred in 2001.
The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which
was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from 6 to 30 November. Best
viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the
constellation Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

23 Nov: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as
the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.

27 Nov: Close approach of the Moon and M44

30 Nov:  Venus at greatest brightness

DECEMBER

3 Dec: Conjunction of the Moon and Venus

7 Dec: Conjunction of Mars and Neptune

7 Dec: New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun
and will not be visible in the night sky. A good time to observe faint objects
such as galaxies and star clusters.

13 /14 Dec: Geminids Meteor Shower. The Geminid shower can produce up to 
120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind
by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower
runs annually from 7 to 17 December. The Moon will set shortly after midnight leaving 
dark skies for the show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight.
Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

14 Dec: Conjunction of the Moon and Mars

15 Dec: Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation of 21.3 degrees from the Sun. 
This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the 
horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.
15 Dec: NGC  1981 is well placed

17 Dec: Mercury at greatst brightness

21 Dec: December Solstice. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun,
which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over
the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter
in the Northern Hemisphere.

22 Dec: Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the
Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.

21/22 Dec: Ursids Meteor Shower. The Ursid shower produces about 5-10 meteors 
per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first 
discovered in 1790. The shower runs annually from 17 to 25 December. This year
the glare from the full moon will hide all but the brightest meteors. Meteors will 
radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

25 Dec: Close approach of the Moon and M44

28 Dec: NGC 2232 is well placed

29 Dec: NGC 2244 is well placed
29 Dec: Conjunction of Venus and Ceres


Sources
https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/sights-to-see.html
https://in-the-sky.org/newscalyear.php?year=2018&maxdiff=4#datesel
http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2018.html