Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events 2013

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U.S. Naval Observatory, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center & the Old Farmer’s Almanac

  • 2013:
  • January 3, 4 - Quadrantids Meteor Shower. The Quadrantids are an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per  hour at their peak. The shower usually peaks on January 3 & 4, but  some meteors can be visible from January 1 - 5. The near last quarter  moon will hide many of the fainter meteors with its glare. Best viewing  will be from a dark location after midnight. Look for meteors radiating  from the constellation Bootes.
  • January 11 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 19:44 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • January 27 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 04:38 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs  howled outside their camps. This moon has also been know as the Old Moon and the Moon After Yule.
  • February 10 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 07:20 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • February 25 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 20:26 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Snow Moon because the heaviest snows usually fell during this time of  the year. Since hunting is difficult, this moon has also been known by  some tribes as the Full Hunger Moon.
  • March 11 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 19:51 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • March 20 - March Equinox. The March equinox occurs at 11:02 UTC. 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 spring (vernal  equinox) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of fall (autumnal  equinox) in the southern hemisphere.
  • March 27 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 09:27 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Worm Moon because this was the time of year when the ground would begin  to soften and the earthworms would reappear. This moon has also been  known as the Full Crow Moon, the Full Crust Moon, and the Full Sap Moon.April 10 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 09:35 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • April 20 - Astronomy Day Part 1. Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of  interaction between the general public and various astronomy  enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is  "Bringing Astronomy to the People," and on this day astronomy and  stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan  special events. You can find out about special local events by  contacting your local astronomy club or planetarium. You can also find  more about Astronomy Day by checking the Web site for the Astronomical League.
  • April 21, 22 - Lyrids Meteor Shower. The Lyrids are an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors  per hour at their peak. These meteors can produce bright dust trails  that last for several seconds. The shower usually peaks on April 21  & 22, although some meteors can be visible from April 16 - 25. The  gibbous moon could be a problem this year, hiding many of the fainter  meteors in its glare. It will set before sunrise, providing a short  window of dark skies. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation  of Lyra after midnight.
  • April 25 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 19:57 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Pink Moon because it marked the appearance of the moss pink, or wild  ground phlox, which is one of the first spring flowers. This year, it is also known as the Paschal Full Moon because it is the first full moon  of the spring season.
  • April 25 - Partial Lunar Eclipse. A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's partial shadow, or penumbra, and only a portion of it passes through  the darkest shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse a part of the  Moon will darken as it moves through the Earth's shadow. The eclipse  will be visible throughout most of Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
  • April 28 - Saturn at Opposition. The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. 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.
  • May 5, 6 - Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Eta Aquarids are a light shower, usually producing about 10 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower's peak usually occurs on May 5 & 6, however viewing should be good on any morning from May 4 - 7. The  crescent moon will hang around for the show, but should not cause too  many problems. The radiant point for this shower will be in the  constellation Aquarius. Best viewing is usually to the east after  midnight, far from city lights.
  • May 10 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 00:28 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • May 10 - Annular Solar Eclipse. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is too close to the  Earth to completely cover the Sun. This results in a ring of light  around the darkened Moon. The Sun's corona is not visible during an  annular eclipse. The path of the eclipse will begin in western Australia and move east across the central Pacific Ocean. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
  • May 25 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 04:25 UTC.  This phase occurs at 11:09 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Flower Moon because this was the time of  year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. This moon has also been  known as the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.
  • May 28 - Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. Conjunctions are rare events where two or more objects will appear  extremely close together in the night sky. The two bright planets will  be within 1 degree of each other in the evening sky. The planet Mercury  will also will also be visible nearby. Look to the west near sunset.
  • May 25 - Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the  Earth's partial shadow, or penumbra. During this type of eclipse the  Moon will darken slightly but not completely. The eclipse will be  visible throughout most of North America, South America, western Europe, and western Africa. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
  • June 8 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 15:56 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • June 21 - June Solstice. The June solstice occurs at 05:04 UTC. 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 (summer  solstice) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the southern hemisphere.
  • June 8 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 15:56 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • June 23 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 11:32 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Strawberry Moon because it signaled the time of year to gather ripening  fruit. It also coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvesting  season. This moon has also been known as the Full Rose Moon and the Full Honey Moon.
  • July 8 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 07:14 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • July 22 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 18:15 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Buck Moon because the male buck deer would begin to grow their new  antlers at this time of year. This moon has also been known as the Full  Thunder Moon and the Full Hay Moon.
  • July 28, 29 - Southern Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids can produce about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower usually peaks on July 28 & 29, but some meteors can also be seen from July 18 - August 18. The radiant point for this shower  will be in the constellation Aquarius. The last quarter moon will be  around for the show and may hide some of the fainter meteors. Best  viewing is usually to the east after midnight.
  • August 6 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 21:51 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • August 12, 13 - Perseids Meteor Shower. The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower's peak usually occurs  on August 13 & 14, but you may be able to see some meteors any time  from July 23 - August 22. The radiant point for this shower will be in  the constellation Perseus. The near first quarter moon will set before  midnight, leaving optimal conditions and dark skies for what should be  an awesome show. Find a location far from city lights and look to the  northeast after midnight.
  • August 21 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 01:45 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Sturgeon Moon because the large sturgeon fish of the Great Lakes and  other major lakes were more easily caught at this time of year. This  moon has also been known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.
  • August 27 - 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. 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.
  • September 5 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 11:36 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • September 19 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 11:13 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Corn Moon because the corn is harvested around this time of year. This  moon is also known as the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full  moon that occurs closest to the September equinox each year.
  • September 22 - September Equinox. The September equinox occurs at 20:44 UTC. 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 and the first day of spring (vernal  equinox) in the southern hemisphere.
  • October 3 - 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. 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.
  • October 12 - Astronomy Day Part 2. Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction  between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is "Bringing Astronomy to  the People," and on this day astronomy and stargazing clubs and other  organizations around the world will plan special events. You can find  out about special local events by contacting your local astronomy club  or planetarium. You can also find more about Astronomy Day by checking  the Web site for the Astronomical League.
  • October 5 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 00:34 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • October 18 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 23:38 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Hunters Moon because at this time of year the leaves are falling and the game is fat and ready to hunt. This moon has also been known as the  Travel Moon and the Blood Moon. This will also be the smallest full moon of the year because it will be near apogee, its farthest point from the Earth.
  • October 18 - Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the  Earth's partial shadow, or penumbra. During this type of eclipse the  Moon will darken slightly but not completely. The eclipse will be  visible throughout most of the world except for Australia and extreme  eastern Siberia.
    (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
  • October 21, 22 - Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing about 20 meteors per hour  at their peak. This shower usually peaks on the 21st, but it is highly  irregular. A good show could be experienced on any morning from October  20 - 24, and some meteors may be seen any time from October 17 - 25. The gibbous moon will be a problem this year, hiding all but the brightest  meteors with its glare. Best viewing will be to the east after midnight. Be sure to find a dark location far from city lights.
  • November 3 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 12:50 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • November 3 - Hybrid Solar Eclipse. A hybrid solar eclipse occurs when the Moon is almost too close to the  Earth to completely block the Sun. This type of eclipse will appear as a total eclipse to some parts of the world and will appear annular to  others. The eclipse path will begin in the Atlantic Ocean off the  eastern coast of the United States and move east across the Atlantic and across central Africa. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
  • November 17 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 15:16 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps  before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the Frosty Moon and the Hunter's Moon.
  • November 17, 18 - Leonids Meteor Shower. The Leonids is one of the better meteor showers to observe, producing  an average of 40 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower itself has a cyclic peak year every 33 years where hundreds of meteors can be seen  each hour. The last of these occurred in 2001. The shower usually peaks  on November 17 & 18, but you may see some meteors from November 13 - 20. The full moon will prevent this from being a great show this year,  but with up to 40 meteors per hour possible, this could still be a good  show. Look for the shower radiating from the constellation Leo after  midnight.
  • November 28 - Comet ISON Closest Approach to the Sun. Newly discovered comet ISON will make its closest approach to the Sun  on November 28. If the comet survives its encounter with the Sun, it  could be one of the brightest comets in recent memory. Some astronomers  estimate that it could even be bright enough to be seen during daylight  hours. In August and September, the comet will begin to be visible in  the morning sky in dark locations with telescopes. In October it will  start to be visible to the naked eye and will continue to get brighter  until November 28. If the comet survives, it will be visible in the  early morning and early evening sky and could be nearly as bright as the full Moon. Some astronomers are already calling it the comet of the  century.
  • December 3 - New Moon. The Moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 00:22 UTC. This is the best  time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star  clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • December 13, 15 - Geminids Meteor Shower. Considered by many to be the best meteor shower in the heavens, the  Geminids are known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour  at their peak. The peak of the shower usually occurs around December 13  & 14, although some meteors should be visible from December 6 - 19.  The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Gemini.  The gibbous moon could be a problem this year, hiding man of the fainter meteors. But with up to 60 meteors per hour predicted, this should  still be a good show. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight from a dark location.
  • December 17 - Full Moon. The Moon will be directly opposite the Earth from the Sun and will be  fully illuminated as seen from Earth. This phase occurs at 09:28 UTC.  This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full  Cold Moon because this is the time of year when the cold winter air  settles in and the nights become long and dark. This moon has also been  known as the Moon Before Yule and the Full Long Nights Moon.
  • December 21 - December Solstice. The December solstice occurs at 17:11 UTC. 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 (winter  solstice) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the southern hemisphere.