Comet Neowise

There are many great astronomical events that take place each year.  Here are the highlights for 2024:

  • January 3-4: Quadrantids Meteor Shower (40/hr, best after midnight, from near Bootes.  Waning gibbous moon won't help this year.)
  • January 12: Best view of Mercury! Catch the hottest planet just above the eastern horizon just before sunrise.
  • March 24: If you didn't get up early to see Mercury, here's your chance to catch it at sunset!
  • March 25: Watch as the penumbral Lunar Eclipse darkens the moon just a bit.
  • April 8: THE BIG ONE! This is the Total Solar Eclipse we have been waiting 7 years for!  Get outside in search of clear weather and try to get inside the path of totality, if you can. You won't regret it!  The next eclipse visible here isn't until 2045, so you don't want to miss this one!
  • April 22-23: Lyrids Meteor Shower (20/hr, best after midnight, from Lyra. The full moon won't help visibility, though, so it may be a bust this year.)
  • May 6-7: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower (30/hr from Halley's Comet, best after midnight, from Aquarius.  The new moon make this a good show, so if you are ready to open your lake house, shut off the lights and watch the skies!)
  • May 9: Mercury visible again before sunrise.
  • July 28-29: Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower (20/hr, best after midnight, from Aquarius, with a second quarter moon.)
  • August 12-13: Perseids Meteor Shower (60/hr, best after midnight, from Perseus.  The first quarter moon will set by midnight, so stay up late and dim your lights for warmest show of the year.)
  • September 8: Best view of Saturn. This is the closest approach the ringed planet makes to the Earth, so get out your telescope and enjoy.
  • September 18: Partial Lunar Eclipse.  Unlike the one earlier in the year, the umbra will JUST nick the moon this time out, making for an odd display.
  • October 7: Draconids Meteor Shower (10/hr, best in early evening (which is unusual for showers), from Draco.  The second quarter moon should get out of the way.)
  • October 21-22: Orionids Meteor Shower (20/hr, best after midnight, from Orion, with the waning gibbous moon blocking many of the dimmer ones.)
  • November 4-5: Taurids Meteor Shower (5-10/hr, best after midnight, from Taurus (look for the red "eye" of Taurus), but the first quarter moon will block some of the fainter ones until it sets.)
  • November 17: Best view of Uranus. Easiest way to find this is to bend over and look between your legs. Seriously, though, look for a blue-green dot in your telescope.
  • November 17-18: Leonids Meteor Shower (15/hr, best after midnight, from Leo -- with a nearly full moon that blocks much of the show this year.)
  • December 7: Best view of Jupiter. Get out your scope or binoculars and check out the gas giant and its moons.
  • December 13-14: Geminids Meteor Shower (120/hr, best after midnight, from Gemini -- a nearly full moon will block out quite a bit, but this was a great show in 2023. Bundle up, though, because it's cold out there!)
  • December 21-22: Ursids Meteor Shower (5-10/hr, best after midnight, from Ursa Minor -- the waning gibbous moon will likely wash this out, so stay in, stay warm, and enjoy your Christmas!)

Get more details about each of these events from this Astronomy Calendar.

In preparation for these heavenly shows, please turn off or dim your lighting, especially the large outdoor lights that light up the entire lake. Better yet, consider boxing your exterior lights! See the International Dark-Sky Association's web site for information and for suggestions on replacing your lighting with fixtures that provide light but still preserve the darkness for others.


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